TEC and trade

Monarch students explore different career paths through Boulder TEC



Andrew Brogdon ‘22 cuts a plank of wood in the construction class at Boulder TEC.

The hammering of nails, the buzzing whir of a drill, and the creaking of wood bounce off the walls of the woodshop at Boulder TEC and through the ears of the Construction Technology students. Drew Brogdon ‘22 focuses intently on finishing the construction of a shed the class has been working on.
With each clack of a hammer, Brogdon thinks about how his hard work will get him from being a bored high school student to a valued member of the workforce.
“Boulder TEC is definitely better than academic classes if you’re like me and have a hard time sitting still for a long time,” Brogdon said.
At Boulder TEC, Brogdon and the other construction students do more than just hands-on work.
“We spend a lot of time using online programs like AutoCAD and SketchUp,” Brogdon said. “I’m not a huge fan of it, but we still have to do it because it’s the future of construction.”
The students use these programs to prepare for the evolving industry.
“We also do soil reports,” Brogdon said. “We read over the report and then we have to figure out what kind of soil it is and what kind of foundation we have to use in order for the build to function.”
After a couple of days on the computers, the class transitions to physical work. They use tools like buzzsaws, drills, and hammers to better understand the ins and outs of the field.
“I love working in the shop,” Brogdon said. “Getting hands-on experience is my favorite part of the class.”
As much as Brogdon loves the action, there are difficulties that come with construction, one of them being its complexity.
“It’s all new to me, and there’s a lot of work to do,” Brogdon said. “It’s all stuff we haven’t done before, but it’s all part of learning.”
Brogdon and his classmates have the chance to volunteer in Boulder to help build new houses and give back to the community, all while practicing their construction skills.
“Five Saturdays a semester we go to this place called Palo Parkway,” Brogdon said.
The houses at the development provide an opportunity for construction students to gain real-world experience. They assist the professional construction team at Palo Parkway in building houses for people to eventually live in. For Brogdon, it’s exactly what he looks for in education.
“I like to be interested in the thing I’m learning about,” he said. “I like building things and doing hands-on work, and it’s why my plan after high school is just to work.”
Brogdon has a clear path in what he wants to do in the future. Other construction students, like Ellie Limb ‘23, encounter the opposite situation: unsure of what the future holds, but unafraid to figure it out.
“I feel lost in what I want to do after high school almost all the time,” Limb said. “I took the construction class to see if it’s what I’d be interested in.”
Boulder TEC has helped Limb get closer to figuring out what she wants to do in the future.
“There are so many different things you can do in a trade,” Limb said. “It’s definitely something I want to look into, but I’m not positive it’s what I would do.”
The feeling of uncertainty can be daunting, but it’s not always a bad thing.
“I try to go along with everything coming my way,” Limb said. “Hopefully, whatever happens, it makes me happy in the end.”
Brogdon also hopes to follow life wherever it takes him, working construction jobs here and there and playing music in his free time. College and post-secondary education don’t appeal to him as they might to others.
“I try not to think about my future career too much,” Brogdon said. “If you know you can do something, and you work hard enough for it, you can do it.”