Mich. tiny home project starts apprenticeship program
Pontiac — A tiny house could lead to big changes in the skilled trades industry, thanks to one man’s idea.
It all started when Dave Strubler, a Lake Orion resident and Oakland University professor, wanted to build a unique vacation home for him and his family.
Strubler’s son introduced him to the concept of tiny homes, which are houses of less than 1,000 square feet for people who want to downsize their living space.
Strubler knew he could use the project as a way to help provide apprenticeships, or on-the-job training, in skilled trades.
“I saw that there was a shortage of workers in skilled trades,” He told the Oakland Press. “I started thinking about apprenticeships and what could fill the gap.”
Strubler’s opportunity came when he found a Rochester-based company, Cool Tiny Homes, which could build a compact vacation home for him.
When he began talking with the company, a mutual desire to implement apprenticeships and help teach skilled trades was discovered.
Together with Scott Baker of Cool Tiny Homes, Strubler put together a team of apprentices looking to learn construction trades.
The apprentices, led by Father Shaun LaDuc of Church of the Advent of Rochester Hills, began working on the home in August. And many of them have found new jobs in the skilled trades industry because of it.
Baker said he plans to continue using apprentices on each of his building projects.
“They’re learning several different types of construction trades,” Baker said. “It’s kind of a win-win.”
Baker said he hopes to have one or two apprentices on future projects, so they can learn from more experienced crew members.
“We want to build a model for apprenticeship,” Strubler said. “It’s a great training ground. It’s kind of an experiment to see how it would work.”
Strubler said he hopes his tiny home can be used as a building block for future apprenticeships.
“My dream is to restore apprenticeships to Michigan,” he said.