At the beginning of February, a group of STEM students from Kennett High School was presented with a unique opportunity. As part of an initiative spearheaded by local builder Tom Bentley, the high schoolers were allowed a glimpse of the builder’s latest development, the 38-townhome Stonehouse development located just blocks away from the school itself.
As they toured Bentley’s community, students were able to see the new Kennett Square homesat every stage of construction, from bare foundations and basic wooden frames to carriage homes that are nearly complete, and everywhere in between. It’s an attempt to showcase the merit of careers not typically seen by students.
Solving Two Problems with One Solution
As most working Americans are keenly aware, recent decades have seen the average cost of college tuition increase 213 percent in the last thirty years. Meanwhile, the growing allure of higher education has seen the number of adequately-trained trade professionals dwindle.
In reaching out to the local students, Bentley aims to provide an alternative to college that will help students secure a high-paying job without accruing the nearly $40,000 in student loans that hangs over the head of the average graduate.
A Fresh Eye on the Trade
Along with the tour of Bentley’s new homes comes the opportunity for these STEM students to talk with an array of craftsman including plumbers, electricians, surveyors, engineers, architects, and project managers. It’s a rare opportunity for the students to see the “engineering” part of STEM in action.
The effort is having an impact, too. As Kennett Consolidated schools chief Barry Tomasetti explained, “Over the years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Kennett graduates that study engineering at the university level.”
The First Step to a New Career
Bentley’s partnership with Kennett High School isn’t a gesture. The Chester County homebuilder is actively recruiting enthusiastic students hoping to fill the much-needed ranks of craftsman in Pennsylvania.
As Bentley told reporters, “We are struggling to find [subcontractors] and qualified people. It’s the biggest concern of all small builders, even larger ones across the country. We’re looking now at going into universities to recruit kids right [out] of school and train them.”
Once they’ve received the right training, the sky’s the limit for a talented craftsman. “I know a lot of plumbers, electricians, and painters who are millionaires,” says Bentley.
Building a Better Community
Bentley Homes’ outreach is about more than finding the next generation of electricians and architects. It’s about pursuing and expanding the same philosophy that has driven Bentley Homes over the years. For four decades and counting, Chester County has relied on Bentley Homes for incredible quality and design. The company is honored to continue that tradition by expanding our aim to include not just gorgeous homes, but the community surrounding them.
It’s about building a better world, whether constructing new homes or instructing the craftsmen of tomorrow. To find out more about our continued commitment to excellence and what Bentley Homes can do for you, visit our websiteand get in touch today. We can’t wait to hear from you.