Building Bridges Carpentry Exploration Program

Building Bridges allows parents to engage with their children through interactive and creative project building.

The Building Bridges Program - Career Exploration and Soft Skills Through Carpentry

Workforce Development Boards are constantly seeking innovative programs that close local skills gaps. Programs that teach hard and soft skills simultaneously, efficiently, and economically in ways that engage participants are the holy grail. Even better are hands-on programs that incorporate information on high-priority occupations that boost the local qualified candidate pipeline and lead to measurable skills gains. Such programs will help individuals gain employment faster and require employers to expend fewer resources on training new hires.

The Building Bridges Program transforms any classroom into a wood shop, any Instructor into a shop teacher, and gives all participants their own workspace and tools for hands-on construction projects. Participants learn basic carpentry skills in the context of career pathways and local opportunities in a variety of occupations. Basic carpentry skills include safety, measuring, hammering, sawing, and planing. These hard skills are entwined with soft skills that are reinforced with each successively more difficult project. These include collaboration, perseverance, following directions, asking questions, problem-solving, concentrating, patience, and follow-through. Along the way, participants experience applied math skills, which reinforced their importance in other areas of programming, such as GED classes.

Providing parents and children with bonding activities

Positive parental involvement promotes a child's development as they grow. Building Bridges allows parents to engage with their children through interactive and creative project building. Embarking on a shared experience gives them a context for communicating, something to talk about, and insight into each other’s personality. For non-custodial parents, it provides a free, structured activity for those who may not otherwise have the money to do so with their child. Fathers and mothers will have quality time to promote creativity, self-confidence, feelings of love and support, and stimulate their child's intellectual development.

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Check out the Building Bridges Carpentry Exploration Program's Statement of Need

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Check out the photos below from a recent Building Bridges event

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Final results


  • Promote a strong, safe, and healthy family environment
  • Provide opportunities to practice patience and promote collaboration
  • Reinforce lessons learned in science, math, reading, and art through fun, hands-on projects

What Participants Will Learn

  • How to use basic hand tools
  • How to follow plans and instructions
  • How to communicate and work together
  • How to make something that is strong and built well


  • Promotes positive interactions between children and parents
  • Promotes self-esteem and confidence
  • Provides early exposure to skills used in the trades
  • Offers insight on education paths leading students to explore trade schools, tech college, apprenticeship, or employment