The construction industry is booming in much of Texas, creating a demand not only for laborers, but well-trained technicians and supervisors, too. Enter the community college.
As profiled in Community College Daily by Cesar Canizales, “The construction technology lab area at the North Lake College West Campus in Texas is a bustling, warehouse-sized building teeming with students, practicing their skills in different areas of the program.” Please have a look, as it may stimulate ideas for your school. Construction has always been a great entry-level occupation for laborers who don’t have much experience with higher education. But it’s the nature of the business today to require extra training that a community college can offer.
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The vast majority of students in the construction technology program already work in the industry. However, many of them hope that the extra education and training will give them a leg up advancing in their companies and also improve their financial futures, according to Tom Hoops, electrical technology instructor at North Lake.
“They’re not just laborers,” Hoops said. “They want to move into management, or they want to become foremen or supervisors. They learn theory in class; then they come to the lab and physically apply what they’ve learned.”
Many community colleges already have welding technology, HVAC, and other pertinent workforce technology programs. Thanks to the construction boom, these and other offerings may get a boost. Combining resources and infrastructure may be the way to go at some schools.
Predicting Congress is risky to say the least these days, but proposals advanced from the leadership of both political parties are directed toward rebuilding our aging transportation, communication, and energy infrastructure, which has been neglected for many years. If a trillion dollars is involved, as some suggest, construction could be the wave of the future for workforce development at community colleges.