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Nicolet College - News - New Carpentry Program


Nicolet College to launch

Carpentry Program in August


Nicolet College will launch a new Carpentry Program in early August that will teach students a broad range of construction skills, including sustainable building practices which are becoming increasingly in demand.

The one-year, 30-credit diploma program will start Aug. 4 with a safety class that meets half days for two weeks. That will be followed by two semesters of instruction that will give students a solid foundation for a carpentry or related career.

As for job demand, the current housing slump hasn’t hit Wisconsin, and especially the Northwoods, as hard as other parts of the country, said carpentry instructor Jeff Labs.

“The demand for skilled carpenters is still strong,” Labs said. “And I only see that increasing in the future as the housing market improves and the need increases to build and maintain homes in the Northwoods.”

Students in the program will learn:

- how to efficiently and safely use all the tools of the trade;

- the required skills and techniques required to perform general carpentry;

- how to select appropriate building materials;

- standard and sustainable building practices and material application;

- how to interpret technical information from blueprints;

- and cost estimating of materials and labor necessary to complete a building


Graduates pursuing skilled, entry-level carpentry positions can expect to earn $12-14 an hour. With experience, that can climb to more than $21 an hour.

Labs has been in the construction business for more than 20 years, focused primarily on residential building with his own construction company. During the past decade he also taught architecture and construction at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

“Over the years I’ve seen this steady increase in demand for more environmentally sustainable building materials and processes,” Labs explained. “We’ll incorporate sustainable practices whenever possible, which will make our graduates even that much more in demand when they finish the program.”

Over the course of the year students will take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to building a house on Nicolet’s Rhinelander campus. The college will then sell the house, which will have to be moved.

Tuition to complete the program will be $2,911.50 plus a materials fee. Students will also need their own tools. Since carpentry is a new program for Nicolet, the college has had to apply to the federal government to offer financial aid to carpentry students. That approval, and subsequent financial aid to students, is expected to be granted before classes start in August.

Everyone interested in enrolling in the program is strongly encouraged to call Labs at (715) 365-4675. When students are ready to enroll, they can contact the Nicolet College Admissions Office at (715) 365-4451 or 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4451.