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Father and Daughter Learn Carpentry Trade Together at Kaskaskia College

Father and daughter, James and Janin Powers of Centralia are working together this year when they both enrolled in the Kaskaskia College Carpentry Program.


James Powers served nearly 12 years of active Duty in the army as a Combat Medic.  During that time, he was deployed 15 months to Iraq and then did two more tours in Afghanistan.  After his last tour, the family decided to buy a house in the states after serving overseas for over nine years in Germany.  According to James, “We were searching for lakeside property and found a home in Centralia.  I was Medically Retired in August 2015 and we moved here”.  


Janin Powers enrolled in KC right after high school and was active in the softball program her freshman year and now is a member of the Blue Angels basketball program.  She enrolled in the Carpentry program 18 months before her dad and they both say they are thrilled to be studying this program together.  James says, “Due to the many deployments, field exercises and schools I had missed my kids growing up.  I retired and suddenly realized they were grown.   It is a rude awakening when you figure out that of the ten years in Germany I was gone for over four and a half of them.  I cannot get that time back but at least I can be there now doing something constructive with my daughter that we both enjoy.  If I am lucky, my son will begin studying Carpentry also”.


Both father and daughter say that Kaskaskia is one of the few schools that offer an Associate Degree in Construction Science and the fact that it is only a five-minute drive to class is merely a bonus.  “We are both receiving a quality education and learning something new every day”, says Janine.  “My plans are to hopefully transfer to SIUE or SIUC and study business to hopefully one day open my own shop”.  James says, “After completing the program, I am certainly looking forward to becoming self-employed.  I also have an interest in attending an architecture school and finish my bachelor’s degree in Architecture”.


Both father and daughter feel that the KC Carpentry program is amazing.  They say, “Instructor Pete Donnelly is a great teacher and always takes the time to explain everything and patiently gets the knowledge across”.  


“Anyone that is willing to learn can finish their first two years at KC,  the trade skills acquired in the Carpentry program not only help getting into the union but also shortens the time towards becoming a journeyman in this trade.  The carpentry trade is in dire need of carpenters so work is likewise guaranteed as long as a person works hard and shows up on time,” says James.


He adds, “Enrolling in this program with my daughter has been a fun journey.  It’s time well spent and we are both not only getting a great education, but having fun doing it together”.

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