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Online tutorials, how-to videos, and advice from your handy neighbor are all well and good. But if you're serious about improving your DIY skills, sometimes you've just got to roll up your sleeves and do it. And if you live in or around the San Jose area, you can now enroll in DIY Academy -- a school for students looking to to get an education in home improvement without
earning an academic degree.
was founded by California-based general contractors Steve Gross and Jeff Vasek, after the pair began identifying a DIY trend among their clients. Gross says, "In the last few years, particularly with the downturn in the economy, we've noticed [that] many of our clients are interested in doing a segment of the project on their own."
The main reason, of course, is the potential for substantial savings. But, as Gross notes, "there is also the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes when you do it yourself. In general, for most people who have the desire to try a project, the hurdle is the lack of knowledge and confidence to attempt [it]."
Thus, Gross and Vasek have positioned the DIY Academy as a home improvement learning center. The school provides hands-on tutorials for a variety of projects tiling bathroom floors to installing kitchen cabinets
Credit: Joe Raedle, Getty Images
In the DIY Academy's facilities, students work in labs set up to mimic real-life home scenarios, with real-life challenges and obstacles. The course schedule is packed with workshops that cover some of the most common indoor and outdoor home improvement projects. Current classes include Tile a Backsplash, Create an Outdoor Deck, Hang New Doors, Drywall a Room, and Introduction to Power Tools. A project management course is offered for those interested in managing a large-scale construction process.
All instructors are licensed contractors boasting years of experience in their respective trades, with 90% of class time is spent in labs, where the students get hands-on practice.
Although most students are between the ages of 30 and 45, Gross and Vasek have seen many homeowners in their 20's and 60's attend DIY Academy. Surprisingly enough, the student roster isn't entirely male-dominant. "I am pleased to say we seem to be getting about an equal enrollment of men and women," Gross notes.
DIY Academy offers plenty of 4-hour and 8-hour courses, so busy homeowners juggling family, work, and other responsibilities can easily sign up for a one-day class that can drastically improve their living situation. "We have twenty hands-on workshops in our course catalog
right now, and are adding more each month. For example, next month we're introducing a new workshop on basic home electricity," Gross says.
DIY Academy is proud to contribute to the DIY movement -- especially for younger generations who are growing up in a technology-dominated world. Gross acknowledges that advancements in communication -- like YouTube, videoconferencing, and social networking -- are convenient, but may be somewhat jading. He says, "I worry that we may be fostering an attitude of passivity with the younger generation. That does not mean that we should stop moving forward, but I do think we should step back and remember what is was like to build a tree-house instead of sitting in front of an X-box."