Marin County, California

A Public Service NPO Building Tiny Homes and Careers

Mission statement

Big Skills Tiny Homes provides self-discovery, mentoring, and skill development to students interested in the trades. Through the process of building a tiny home from scratch to completion, students are exposed to a variety of trade disciplines and are empowered to identify their future career path. 


The Numbers

Some important statistics about high-school graduates, college costs, and the job market.

Program Description

Sean Ticknor, President and founder of BSTH, will lead a team of four high school graduate team members to build a Tiny Home from scratch to completion, with the goal of selling it on the open market. The project will take nine months to complete. A tiny home was selected as an ideal construction project for the following reasons:

  • It exposes students to a variety of available careers in the trades
  • It results in a tangible product that students can feel proud to make
  • It can be completed in a reasonable time frame
  • It can be sold as a future revenue source for BSTH

The tiny home will be approximately 240 square feet large, and include a living space, modern bathroom, and complete kitchen. Like any other typical home, it will have plumbing, electricity, wood framed walls with windows and doors, and roofing. It will be finished with carpet, drapes, dishes, and decor. The home will be energy efficient and recycled building materials will be used, when possible. 

Sean Ticknor and his team members will work full time nine months. The first four students to enter the program will start in September. The program will have three distinct building phases, which are outlined below. 

PHASE ONE - September, October, November

  • Trailer Preparation
  • Foundation
  • Floor Framing
  • Wall Framing
  • Roof Framing
  • Sheathing
  • Doors and Windows

PHASE TWO - December, January, February

  • Siding
  • Roof Installation
  • Plumbing and Electrical
  • Gas Lines
  • HVAC
  • Insulation
  • Trim Work

PHASE THREE - March, April, May

  • Install Appliances
  • Complete Kitchen
  • Complete Bathroom
  • Built-ins (storage, stairs)
  • Finish Electrical
  • Paint
  • Decor

Participants will experience all aspects of building a home, including the planning, drafting, and budgeting process required to complete such a complex project. Throughout the nine-month process, each student will exposed to a wide rage of construction skills, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, roofing, tiling, trim work and finishing. Additionally, by working as a team on a daily basis, each student will further their leadership, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills.

After the tiny home is built, participants will undergo a career planning session. This will include meeting with team members individually and asking them: 

  • How do you feel about the completed project?
  • What aspects of the build most appealed to you? 
  • What did you not like about the project?
  • What skills did you enjoy developing the most?
  • What types of projects do you see yourself working on and enjoying?
  • What future career goals can you identify?
  • What are the next steps towards working in that field? 

The program does not end at the completion of the nine-month build and career planning session. Rather, BSTH will help place team graduates into the next stage of their career and regularly follow up with graduates for five years. 

Possible placement options include: 

  • A paid position at a construction company
  • An apprenticeship
  • Locating a vocational training school that matches their interest
  • Locating a college program for further education

BSTH will provide recommendations for placements and check in with graduates every three months for the first year after the build, and every six months thereafter to ensure that graduates continue to move towards their goals. BSTH’s commitment to five years of support for its graduates will ensure their long-term success and provide feedback for the program.


Video about the Program