Springfield, MO

Log in Subscribe

Trades education courses abound in Ozarks region

Posted online

by Ruth Scott

SBJ Contributing Writer

Employment is high in the construction sector, and education opportunities abound for those who wish to become skilled workers.

At Ozarks Technical Community College, students can receive a certificate in construction technology after complet-

ing a one-year program, said Jennifer Jackson, construction technology instructor.

Next year, OTC will be offering a two-year associate's degree in construction technology.

Many of the students enrolled in the current program do not complete it in a year, choosing instead to work while taking classes part-time, Jackson said.

She added that there is plenty of work available. "I really think there's a place for skilled workers; there is a demand for as many as we can turn out."

Jackson is the director of Project CREW (Construction Readiness Education for Women), a selective admissions program for women. Project CREW is funded by Job Council of the Ozarks because it is a non-traditional employment field for women.

Jackson said that only 18 students will be selected this year for the one-year program. "This program is needed," she said. "This fall will begin our sixth year, and placement has been very successful."

Southwest Missouri State University offers a four-year program in construction management, said Ed Matthews, technology department head.

According to Matthews, the curriculum in this program prepares graduates for a variety

of positions, such as project manag-

ers, project engineers, estimators, expeditors, safety technologists and claims adjustors.

"Construction management is one of our most popular programs in the department" with about 100 students enrolled, Matthews said.

He added that enrollment in the program has been consistently high over the nearly 30 years of its existence.

"Our biggest problem is that students often get hired as a sophomore or junior and don't complete the program." He estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of the students in this program are employed at least part-time.

"There's no way to have classes in the summer, because all the students are working," he added.

Demand for graduates is high, according to Matthews. "Employers call, and I tell them if they want a May construction graduate, they should start calling in November."

Local labor unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Carpenters, and Bricklayers, as well as several others, offer apprenticeship programs.

According to Jack Bowman, apprenticeship training representative for the Department of Labor, these programs are similar but can vary slightly as long as they meet certain guidelines.

Sam Mahan, business agent and financial secretary of Bricklayers Local No. 10 of Missouri, said that his union's apprenticeship program, which began in 1902, is doing very well. "We advertise twice a year and take applications. Those we select are given a job working for a contractor."

Mahan said the apprentices learn on

the job while taking classes at night or

on weekends. "The apprentices take

about 144 hours each year of related studies, including a lot of work with blueprints."

Sometimes, an apprentice might show a lot of promise in a specialized area, he said.

"We sometimes send people to the International Masonry Institute in Maryland, which offers classes in various wet-trowel trades, such as stonework and tile-setting."

After four years, an apprentice becomes a journeyman and "can work on any union job in the world," Mahan said.

[[In-content Ad]]


No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick
Home construction companies merge to launch new venture

Alair Springfield is first Missouri franchise for Canada-based company.

Most Read
Update cookies preferences