Importance of Building Codes to Be Taught in High School Programs

Words: Dan KamysImportance of Building Codes to Be Taught in High School Programs

An established training program supported by the International Code Council addresses a presidential challenge to meet the demands of a high-tech economy. The High School Technical Training Program teaches high school students the importance of building codes and provides graduates with an advantage in the job market.

The challenge is to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. Schools will be rewarded to develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math???the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs.

“Mastering building science, technology, engineering and math is a must for a successful career in working with building codes to create safe structures,” says ICC Board VP Stephen Jones. “Technology includes new building materials and products, cdp ACCESS???the online code development process of the future???plan review, permitting, and digital codes and standards.”

The pilot program for the High School Technical Training Program began in 2009 in Maryland. The curriculum covers four major construction fields contained in the ICC’s International Residential Code: building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical. Forty students earned at least one certificate in the four areas of study in 2012. This year, masonry was added to the curriculum.

About 200 students currently are enrolled in the program at nine high schools and eight more schools committed to starting the program during the 2013-2014 school year. Another 16 code officials or school administrators are reviewing the program.

Jim Ellwood, Senior Plans Examiner, Building Service Division, Harford County, is the originator of the pilot program at Harford Technical High School.

“Building officials joining together and mentoring this program will provide the ICC and building code communities an opportunity to contribute to the workforce of the future, and ensure that the ICC remains a leader in code development and code education,” Ellwood says.

For more information about the High School Technical Training Program, contact Sara Yerkes, ICC Senior Vice President for Government Relations, at or go to

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