Carpentry class looking to hone skills through real world application

One of the best ways that Gary Hanan has found for students to learn is by application, which is why he is appealing to the public to help his carpentry students.

This is the first year of the re-established carpentry program that is a collaboration between Owensboro and Daviess County public schools and the Owensboro Community & Technical College. Hanan would like for students to get as much hands-on experience as possible, so he and his students are offering their services to anyone in the community who would like a yard shed.

“This is one of the best ways I have found for kids to learn some of the basic carpentry skills, like pounding nails, measuring boards, cutting boards, and actually assembling a small structure,” he said.

He said there are a lot more details that go into carpentry than can be taught from a textbook, and the physical act of building is something they can do on campus.

The idea is that if someone would like a shed built, they can contact Hanan. They would then be responsible for the materials to build the shed, and for transporting it from the OCTC downtown campus at 1501 Frederica St., to their yard.

“We are hoping to build skills that the kids can use, and at the same time, provide something the citizens of the community need,” Hanan said.

Hanan would also like for area contractors to take notice of the carpentry students. If there are any contractors in the Owensboro area who are interested in speaking with students in the classroom, or who are looking for part-time or full-time employees or interns, they can also reach out to Hanan. He eventually would also like to build up relationships with area contractors so that students can visit an actual construction site to see what students learn in the classroom put into action.

The carpentry class is also putting on a fundraiser in order to raise money for what Hanan called “safety celebrations.” For $15 each, the community may purchase student-build bluebird houses. The safety celebrations are a chance for students to learn more about the trade and also have a cookout.

Hanan said the carpentry class is important for this area because it is filling a void. As trade employees retire, there need to be trained individuals ready to take their places.

The course was born from a task force composed of OPS, DCPS, OCTC and members of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce that was formed last year. The purpose of the task force was not only to provide students with more career and technical options, but also to meet the community’s workforce needs and new graduation requirements. The new requirements provide students with more choices when it comes to choosing high school courses that suit their interests and career plans. However, they also pose a slight problem for some school districts in Kentucky, including OPS and DCPS, that don’t have access to advanced technology centers that provide the necessary education for certifications in high-demand job fields such as technical or electrical.

Community members interested in contacting Hanan to have yard sheds built or to purchase birdhouses, or area contractors interested in devoting time to students, can contact him at