Students, Instructor Call Construction Trades Academy ‘awesome,’ ‘great Opportunity’

2013 Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades attendees hold a sign made from PVC that they constructed in the plumbing section of the Academy.

Nineteen students participated in the 16th Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades earlier this month; it was one of the highest-attended sessions in the Academy’s history. Supervised by certified instructors, students learn about the different trades straight from the professionals. Contractors donate their time to work with them each day on sheds, interior “pods” and other hands-on activities like pouring concrete, masonry, electrical and plumbing.

Home Builders Care Foundation President Chad Maloy, Gate City Bank, presents Jose Chavez with scholarships from HBC and NDSCS.

Jose Chavez, a recent high-school graduate from Leonard, N.D., says. “My favorite parts were the shed framing and masonry. Masonry is really challenging because of the detail, but your work can shine through in the finished product. The Academy opens up your eyes to what you do want to do in the construction field, and what you don’t. You get to meet new kids, and it’s a blast.”

Chavez received a $500 scholarship from Home Builders Care Foundation and a $1,000 scholarship from the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. He plans to attend NDSCS this fall and enroll in the building construction technology program.

Moorhead Community College Foundation Executive Director Chuck Chadwick presents Jacob Ochsner with a scholarship from M State.

Jacob Ochsner, a recent high school graduate from Glyndon, Minn., received a $1,000 scholarship to Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead. He will study construction management and hopes to work with his father in the family’s excavation business.

“I learned about all the components of how building a house works,” Ochsner says. “My favorite part was when one of the speakers went through and broke down the steps and showed the percentages of how a house can be more or less energy efficient, depending on how it’s constructed.”

He called the Academy a “great opportunity,” and recommends it to other high school students interested in the industry.

“It gives you a leg up on the competition with three college credits, and it’s a lot of fun,” he says.

This Academy was M State Carpentry Instructor Dave Kraemer’s first year helping to coordinate the event.

“I think it went very well,” he says. “I was totally amazed at the program itself and what the students get out of it. The chance for them to work with those professionals, hands-on, is second-to-none. Wow! What an awesome opportunity for high school kids to learn about the trades. They will have a jump start on anyone else because they’ve been able to learn some actual practical applications in the field.”

More about the Academy…

The two-week Academy, held each June at M State in Moorhead, is open to North Dakota and Minnesota high school students ages 15 and older. Cost is $25. Students who successfully complete the Academy will earn three college credits from M State. Find out more by calling (701) 232-5846, emailing, visiting or visiting

Sponsorship of the Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades is provided by: M State-Moorhead, Home Builders Association of F-M and its charitable organization, Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation. HBA of F-M members donate time and materials to defray the cost of the Academy for students, many members contribute with “Adopt A Student” sponsorships, and the Association itself helps to fund annually.

Students stop for a photo after removing forms from the concrete they poured during the 2013 Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades.