Work-Based Learning with Business and Industry Engagement

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Project-based Learning, Work-based learning

At a Glance

Building/Property Maintenance students participate in “The Virtual Victorian House Project,” a teacher developed, project-based learning activity.


Students in the Building/Property Maintenance program at Susquehanna County CTC participate in a project-based learning experience entitled “The Virtual Victorian House Project Including Realistic Building Code Enforcement Analysis.” The purpose of the project is to instruct students in a way that reinforces learning, keeps the students engaged, and presents large amounts of new information. This project also introduces students to potential careers in the building trades while bringing a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the building codes and standards process.

Students are given program-specific case study scenarios, related blueprints, and “job specs” for an old Victorian house that has been abandoned. Working independently and in small groups, students use these resources, along with completing necessary mathematical calculations, in order to prepare a “bid” to complete renovations on the house and bring it in compliance with current building code standards. Students are also asked role play a building code inspector. Using multiple case studies, students identify and cite  all possible local and international code violations.

As a culminating experience, students present their findings to a committee panel that consists of a potential investor for the virtual house, a general contractor, and the Susquehanna County chief building code inspector.

The local code officer for the county then “approves” or “disapproves” their requests for meeting code obligations. 

Origin / Implementation

This project was inspired to meet a requirement of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Enhanced CTE seminar. The intent was to develop and implement a project-based lesson that embedded multiple related competencies into a cohesive academic and occupational blended lesson. All materials were developed by the instructor based on the concept of “This Old House.” The project duration is approximately 30 hours.

This project based learning was administered at the Susquehanna County CTC for the first time in January 2014. The group contained nine seniors. The 2015 group will contain eleven juniors and seniors.

Results / Impact

Throughout the project, students were actively engaged in higher level academically and occupationally purposeful tasks. All students, including the diverse learner, showed tremendous understanding and knowledge of the codes and standards within the industries that were represented. Students used multiple literacy and numeracy strategies that enabled them to analyze new information in a way that allowed them to draw conclusions and debate their findings. 

Of the students that participated in the Building Code Project, all but one had met the requirements of Advanced on the annual NOCTI exam. The student that scored Proficient had raised his pre-NOCTI to post-NOCTI score by twenty-three percent. Understanding the vast majority of the codes in this project has proven to be beneficial to the NOCTI exam for all students. 


Susquehanna County CTC
John Gazzillo, Building/Property Maintenance Instructor