Magazine article Techniques

Today's Construction Academies

Magazine article Techniques

Today's Construction Academies

Article excerpt

The Associated General Contractors is among the organizations that recognize that today's construction academies are helping to build tomorrow's careers.

The U.S. Department of Labor has granted $235,500 to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) to establish eight new construction career academies across the U.S. AGC is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in America with more that 33,000 member firms. Through the grant funds, AGC will provide financial support to eight of its chapters to start construction career academies in their local communities.

"AGC will use these grant dollars to help train the future workforce of the construction industry," says AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. "Career academies have proven that they prepare students for the workforce by integrating career and academic skills into the education process."

The grant is funded under the president's High-Growth Job Training Initiative, which seeks to leverage the publicly funded workforce system more effectively in collaboration with private and public sector partners, and to prepare new and incumbent workers with the general and industry-specific skills demanded by employers. This initiative focuses on high-growth industries-such as construction-where specialized skills training curricula needs to be developed or upgraded to ensure that workers have the right skills for the right jobs.

The eight sub-grantee recipients include the following communities:

* AGC of Alaska and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District

The Mat-Su Borough is the fastest growing community in Alaska, and the demand for new construction is very high.

* AGC of Greater Florida and Palmetto High School

Palmetto High School will transform its current career tech program into a construction career academy. By restructuring the present program into an academy, it will entice students to enter the construction field as they see the relevance of the academics to the construction industry, and it will better prepare them for a future in the industry.

* AGC of Houston and the Houston Independent School District

Two to six new construction career academies will be implemented over a three-year lifecycle of the grant. Houston Community College will assist in training teachers, aligning the high school curricula with college-level courses, and will offer dual credit where possible.

* AGC of Kentucky and Iroquois High School Magnet Center

This career academy will be launched in 2006, and the chapter will work with contractors and faculty to guide curricula aligned with industry needs, offer scholarships, and provide students hands-on experiences and work-based opportunities.

* Mississippi AGC and the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation

The construction career academy will start in 2006 and be located at Ridgeland High School in suburban Jackson, Mississippi. Interest in the construction trades is very high across Madison County, and there is currently a waiting list of students to enter the Building Trades career and technical program, so the academy will be able to capitalize on the already high student interest.

* AGC of Nebraska and Omaha Public Schools Career Center

The grant funds for this site will help start the construction career academy at the Omaha Public Schools Career Center. The academy was structured to help eliminate dropouts, improve student performance and equip students for future success.

* AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter and Simon Benson Polytechnic High School

The number of construction jobs in Oregon has risen 27 percent over the last 15 years. By working to increase student interest in construction careers through the academy, AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter hopes to stem the tide of workforce shortages in the state.

* AGC of Wisconsin and Burlington High School

The rural community of 10,000 has enthusiastically embraced the career academy concept and is looking forward to accepting its first students this fall. …

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