More than 150 high school students from across the region spent two days combing through blue prints, hammering together wood frames and running plumbing through scale-sized model homes as part of the HBC Home/Design Competition organized by the North Orange County ROP.

Eleven teams of students competed in the event held last week at Reliable Lumber in Huntington Beach. The competition was part of Building Industry Technology Academy, or BITA, a career pathway program in high schools that trains students for jobs in the construction industry.

Certified building inspectors served as judges, measuring teams’ projects by safety, cleanliness of worksites, durability of the model homes, and other factors.

La Habra High School’s team, headed by teacher Mike Reed, took first place overall. Anaheim High’s team, lead by teacher Jeremy Cates, placed second, while the team from Placentia’s Valencia High, coached by teacher Roy Morrison, came in third.

In BITA, high school students spend four years learning through a hands-on curriculum about the construction industry, one of the job sectors in California struggling to find enough qualified workers.

“These students are applying the skills they’ve learned in the competition,” said Terri Giamarino, superintendent of the North Orange County ROP.

“These skills will eventually help them land jobs that are in high-demand.”