HCC awarded $1 million construction grant
Haywood Community College was selected by the Department of Labor, in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission, to receive a grant in the amount of $1.196M for Project UP, a program to support the development of short-term training programs in construction. The grant is part of the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative and is designed to build the workforce in our area and upskill the talent of those participating in the program. Twenty-three grants were awarded, two of which went to North Carolina.
“Providing opportunities to gain critical job skills is the heart of our mission as a community college,” explains Shelley White, President of HCC. “We are excited to have been selected for this grant and look forward to strengthening partnerships and building new relationships through Project UP.”
HCC will partner with the Haywood County Detention Center, Southwestern Workforce Development Board, and construction, plumbing and HVAC businesses in the county to implement a training program to target local workforce needs. This initiative will provide a pathway of rehabilitation for individuals who’ve been incarcerated and re-entry into the workforce with GED certification and job skills training. The program will also serve as a pipeline of entry-level talent in the construction industry for businesses.
“We are so fortunate to share a great working relationship with Haywood Community College, as this only enriches our county,” says Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. “This grant opportunity strengthens our efforts to assist in offering inmates the chance to gain valuable job skills necessary to re-enter the workforce and our community.”
Courses offered as a result of Project UP will be open to anyone in the community looking to gain credentials and advance their career. The end result is to prepare a ready workforce by increasing the skill level and education of participants, including access to certifications that will increase marketability. In addition, this program will assist employers in meeting workforce challenges by helping to fill the shortfall of construction workers projected in North Carolina.
“It is critical to support a healthy economy by meeting the needs of our employers locally and across the region. We’ve heard the needs of our homebuilder’s construction companies, workforce boards and local government saying they need more skilled employees in the construction industry,” explains Doug Burchfield, HCC Dean of Workforce and Industry. “This grant will allow us the opportunity to help traditionally underserved populations and hard to serve populations by focusing on educating people for careers that have entrepreneurial qualities, upward mobility and good wages while providing a skilled workforce to our industry partners.”
Soft skills training will provide interview opportunities and feedback, including computer skills training to assist in resumé writing and online job search and application. Hard skills training in Construction Technology, HVAC and Plumbing will provide participants the basic knowledge to succeed in an entry-level construction position. Students learn basic safety concepts and gain exposure to equipment and tools used in carpentry, HVAC and plumbing.
Construction Technology teaches the fundamentals of commercial and residential construction using hand and power tools. Students will learn carpentry skills and safety using tools of the trade. Plumbing introduces the plumbing profession, including drain, waste, and vent systems, and water distribution systems. Students will learn about plumbing safety, tools of the plumbing trade, and installing plastic, copper and steel pipes and plumbing fixtures. HVAC introduces basic electricity concepts, introduction to air distribution systems, and heating and cooling, basic copper, steel, and plastic piping, soldering and brazing.
The first construction course will start this summer while GED classes are available now. Upon completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to obtain a 10-hour OSHA Card and NCCER credentials after passing the exams with a 70% or higher.
By working with the Sheriff’s Department to train, mentor and support employment efforts for formerly incarcerated individuals, this program aims to reduce recidivism and secure gainful employment for new and incumbent workers in our community.