Dade County High School Construction Trades Program Empowers Students for Future Careers


Dade County High School is home to an active Construction Trades program that is offered to all DCHS students. David Howard is the current teacher for the Construction Trades classes.  Students are able to take a variety of classes where they can learn different aspects of the Construction industry. These classes include: 

  1. Occupational Safety, where they learn about basic shop safety, tool identification and correct tool usage, various types of PPE and introduction to basic workplace ethics. Students that take this course are enrolled in an online OSHA-10 course and they receive their certification upon course completion. These students create a cedar birdhouse to show their knowledge of basic tool usage. 
  2. Introduction to Construction, where they are able to apply a lot of the things they learned in Occ Safety in an actual shop environment. Students in this class also learn about jobsite procedures, various types of jobs that are related to the construction industry as well as the way these jobs all tie into the construction process. These students learn the importance of communicating effectively with each other to ensure the job is completed safely and accurately. These students build more challenging projects such as American Flags and various signs. 
  3. Carpentry, where students learn about blueprint reading and jobsite supervision. These students take turns acting as a Foreman where they must direct shop activities while maintaining order and distributing work fairly. During this 3rd level class each student creates a Resume where they can showcase all of their skills. Students participate in various activities to prepare them for job interviews and meetings.  Carpentry students create the more detailed items that we currently build, this includes storage buildings, chicken coops, benches and chairs.


  1. Electrical, where students learn how electricity is made and distributed throughout the country. They learn about the power grid, transformers, and the distribution down to the residential user. Each student is assigned a 4 foot by 4 foot booth where they install several electrical items (outlets, switches, lights, door bells, and sub panels). The student is solely responsible for all items inside their booth. We discuss and demonstrate in the classroom and then students move to their booth and install what they learned. When everything goes as planned the light comes on and they are excited that it works. We do a small amount of conduit bending and they learn about pulling wire in the conduit. 


All students that are in Construction Trades learn the importance of building a team and acting as a productive team member. They are taught how to stand in front of their classmates and discuss various projects. Students are shown the importance of communicating effectively by listening before speaking, making eye contact and of course introducing themselves with a firm handshake. Students say the pledge of allegiance in each class throughout the day and they are quick to remind you when we forget to say it. 


Several local businesses hire our Construction Trades students and David is actively trying to get more businesses and industries involved in his students’ success.  


David Howard is starting his 7th year at Dade County High School as the Construction Trades teacher and he recently received the Teacher of the year award for DCHS.  David graduated high school in 1993 at Meigs County High school in Decatur, TN and went straight into the United States Military after graduation (he joined the Tennessee Army National Guard his Junior year in high school, 1992). He was a member of the Army National Guard for twelve years and progressed through the ranks from Private E-1 to Staff Sergeant E-6. During his time in the National Guard he was also employed as a Federal Military Technician where his main assignment was an Electronics Technician working on various military equipment to include the M1-A1 battle tank. After a tragic leg injury, David retired from his career and went back to school. He graduated with an AAS in Engineering Systems and he started an Electrical business with his wife and he later became a Site Superintendent working for General Construction Contractors. One of his assigned  projects brought him to Dade County where he was the project superintendent on the complete renovation of DCHS. The Construction Trades teacher position at DCHS became available at the end of the renovation project and David was hired. David, his wife Edna, and their son Max  moved to Trenton in 2017 and they recently moved to Higdon, AL. 


David is very passionate about his position and his dream is for all of his students to get a job in the Construction Trades Industry. If you are interested in supporting the Dade County High School Construction Trades.

“Giving my students as many opportunities as possible is my goal.”


You can reach out to David at the high school or send him an email at