Carpentry Students Install New Benches at St. Francis Church

Apprentice Carpentry Program participants installed newly built benches in the courtyard of the St. Francis Catholic Church.

Carpentry students from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Apprenticeship Program have been busy this year working on various projects throughout the Community. Their latest assignment was installing new wood benches at St. Francis Church.

“The students are taking a strong interest in the carpentry field and what it can offer in terms of a stable job opportunity, financial support for their families and being able to contribute to the [Salt River] Community workforce,” said Joseph Seletstewa, new carpentry instructor for the SRPMIC Apprenticeship Program. 

Their hard work thus far has involved building mock-up walls, hanging drywall, stucco application, roof application and much more. In July, the students successfully passed their OSHA 10-hour training. According to OSHA’s website, the OSHA 10-hour training teaches basic safety and health information to entry-level workers in construction and general industry. It is part of the OSHA Outreach Training Program, which explains serious workplace hazards, workers’ rights, employer responsibilities and how to file an OSHA complaint.

The students were also required to maintain and possess current first-aid, CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training. They successfully accomplished that this past August. Following their training, the group was invited to tour the Phoenix Carpenter Union Hall in September. 

Back row L-R: Adrian Hill, Sage Waters, (Instructor) Joseph Seletstewa, Victor Enos-Jackson, Leon Lopez, Zilas Kisto, Aaron Rivers. Seated: Jay Gold and Julian Lewis. All photos by OAN Newspaper Assistant Kari Haahr.

With Seletstewa continually guiding the students along the way during each of their projects, the students were able to accept their latest assignment, installing new benches at the St. Francis church. 

The students began the bench project on the morning of December 6. “Three Mission-style benches are being donated to the church on behalf of the Community employment Carpentry Apprenticeship Program,” said Seletstewa. “The students were very excited to install the benches at the church,” he added.

The benches were prepped for installation during the final week of November. In the last phase, the students were responsible for staining and sealing the wood benches before they could be ready for the public.

The students will continue learning the ins and outs of carpentry with additional work and assignments scheduled for the remainder of this year and 2024. “They’ve done great,” said Seletstewa. 

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