Michael Argento has helped build more than 500 foundations for homes. Here’s the crazy part: he’s only 19 years old.
Michael’s career in construction began all the way back at Guilford High School, in construction class. For the class, the students built a Habitat for Humanity house from the ground up, under the leadership of their teacher, Mark Anderson.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” Michael said, remembering when he signed up for the class. He had taken woodshop classes before, but his construction classes were a whole new challenge—in his first year of the class, he helped build the walls of a Habitat house, and older students actually finished construction at the build site. But during Michael’s senior year, he was out at the construction site, helping with the entire process.
“It was just like working, but as a student. So you get to learn a lot,” he said.
Michael remembers the day that the house was completed and dedicated to the family that was purchasing it.
“It impacted me a lot, seeing how happy the people were,” he said.
Not only was the work for the class meaningful, but it also helped Michael learn what his passions were. According to Michael, his construction class was a great place to decide what he wanted to do after graduation.
“It gave me a lot of ideas of future careers that I could do, because building a house is not just one thing that you learn—it’s a lot of things,” he said.
After his experience in construction class, Michael decided to pursue a career in construction, and was hired by Premier Concrete, Inc. But even after graduation, Michael is still connected Habitat—he’s currently contracted to work on a couple of Habitat build sites.
“I went from building houses with the school for Habitat to building them with my job,” Michael said. “I really like what they do for the community.”
Michael says that his construction classes at Guilford provided invaluable experience, and that he hopes many other students continue enrolling in these courses to prepare for future careers.
“I would highly recommend it,” he said. “There’s always a need for construction.”
Since Michael was a student, the partnership between Rockford Public Schools and Habitat has grown and flourished. This academic year, a group of students from both Guilford High School and East High School will get to have the same hands-on opportunity that launched Michael into his career. These classes will undoubtedly impact the lives of these students, Habitat homeowners, and the Rockford community for many years to come.