As all state and national economists are aware, North Alabama is booming and more and more construction and building workers are needed. Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) is responding to those needs locally and regionally by tracking workforce needs and is offering a program in Building Construction Technology.
In the Fall of 2021, NACC introduced a new degree program in Building Construction Technology in response to the increasing need for skilled workers in many areas of the construction industry. The need for the program is evident in that currently there are twenty-seven students in the program and the high-demand areas of HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical pathways.
A key component to getting this program started is buy-in from local schools and recruiting students into these lucrative career paths. “Creating access points for high school students through dual enrollment is paramount”, stated Kerry Wright, Dean of Workforce Development. “The opportunities available to high school students now are vast and dual enrollment gives them a head start to earn a college degree”.
In addition to degree program options, NACC offers non-credit skills training in construction-related pathways that include Carpentry, Construction Wiring, Plumbing, and Heavy Equipment Operation. These courses are designed to introduce students to the skill sets necessary to be competitive in the workforce. They also give students a chance to explore different disciplines that can lead to a productive career.
NACC has expanded the program by starting a Building Construction with DeKalb County Technology Center in Rainsville, thus preparing students to enter the workforce in construction-related fields. “In our first year, we have thirty-five students in the program at DCTC led by our instructor Zane Dalton and look to expand the curriculum within the program. The opportunity to offer dual enrollment to our students through Northeast Alabama Community College will provide our students with additional knowledge within the field of construction” stated Jonathan Phillip, Career and Technical Education Director at DCTC.
Dr. Kevin Sanders, Building Construction Instructor said, "Working with DE (dual enrollment) students reaffirms one reason why I teach; students who are willing to take classes they don't have to take but take them because they truly want to learn is refreshing, encouraging, and makes me be a better educator. I know these students want to learn the skills of a craft not just get a passing grade, which changes everything."
One local school utilizing the program at DCTC is Cornerstone Academy. Carrie Johnson, Counselor at Cornerstone Christian Academy stated, “our faculty teaches academics that push our students to achieve their God-given potential. We offer math dual enrollment through Northeast to our juniors and seniors. I noticed that while our curriculum was advanced for college-bound students, I felt students who were planning to enter the workforce upon graduation, were not as well equipped. I reached out to NACC staff members, and they gave me options that allow our students to take courses while in their junior and senior years that I know will benefit them once they enter the workforce. I currently have three seniors who have completed a carpentry class and currently working on their second plumbing class in the building construction program at Northeast. These students received technical scholarships and they have not paid for a single class yet. Dr. Sanders has been wonderful to work with and communicates with me and their parents about their progress. It has been an ideal partnership with Northeast to give all our students the skills they need to go and do as God has called them”.
“We are very pleased to have this workforce training for students at the dual enrollment level,” stated Dr. David Campbell, President of NACC. “The more career opportunities we can offer for both high school and college students in our area the better.”
For more information about the program, please contact Sefernia Valey at 256-228-6001 ext. 2254. For information about NACC, please see the college’s website at www.nacc.edu
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