A general contractor by trade, Foundation Board member David Weiss is working with Sandhills Community College to bridge the local training gap and help remedy the huge shortage of men and women entering careers in the construction industry – careers that pay great and offer real opportunities for jobs that are both challenging and fun.
Through a generous gift to the college, the William L. and Josephine B. Weiss Family Foundation, has invested in a construction trades program at Sandhills that will be offered tuition-free so that students can begin their construction careers without student debt. In fact, not only will the students complete the training debt-free, but upon successful completion, they will enter their jobs with a well-equipped construction tool belt.
“The Weiss Family Foundation is proud to support the Construction Trades program at Sandhills Community College. There is an industry need for skilled construction trades individuals locally and nationally,” said Weiss. Construction offers above average salaries and wide-ranging opportunities for both women and men to succeed in the industry. Sandhills’ relationship with Habitat for Humanity, the Moore County Homebuilders Association and various other partners will make this initiative a success while creating opportunities for new construction-related careers for all those interested. Prospective students should consider this debt-free training option.”
The Palmer Foundation furthered the commitment to closing this gap with an additional donation. “This is a well-paying job for men, and women too,” said Penny Enroth, chair of the Palmer Foundation. “The local contractors have expressed a need following the 2008 downturn in construction. Now, the market for new house construction has rebounded assuring many new construction jobs.”
In Moore and Hoke counties, according to the NC Office of Budget and Management, it is estimated that the population will be nearly 160,000 by the year 2020. The value of residential permits increased by nearly $40,000,000 in Moore County alone from 2010 until 2017.
“Reinventing how we look at this industry could be the catalyst to help rebuild America’s middle class,” said John Dempsey, president of Sandhills Community College. “We are grateful for Dave and Penny’s recognition of and commitment to this effort. As more people are made aware of the jobs available in this area and the earning potential, our students seeking this training will be positioned for successful futures and that is our mission at Sandhills—to maximize student success.”
Community engagement is another area nurturing a love for construction and trades. “At Habitat for Humanity, we enjoy seeing our future homeowners and volunteers push themselves a little beyond their comfort zone by engaging in construction work that is often unfamiliar to them. Our 2018 Women Build home was a unique opportunity to engage women to build with us as we provide a safe environment for learning new skills – and, we are delighted to see many of these women return again and again as they develop a passion for building homes and a passion for our community,” said Amie Fraley, executive director for Habitat for Humanity. “We look forward to working with Sandhills Community College to explore ways we can lead the way to address this need.”
The Sandhills program will touch many areas of basic construction including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC); electrical; plumbing and construction management. Participants are offered opportunities to gain entry-level skills, advanced skills with certifications, and management skills for key technical areas of the construction industry.
“We have filled our spring class and we now have a waiting list for this popular trade,” said Lori Degre, director of Career Training Programs. “We also have a waiting list for those who hope to complete subsequent training.”
“The potential for specialized training in construction is endless,” said Andi Korte, Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. “We will continue to monitor the needs and develop classes to address our findings. None of this would be possible without our partnerships with the Weiss Family Foundation, the Palmer Foundation and the support from our local community agencies like the Moore County Home Builder’s Association and Habitat for Humanity.”
For additional information about how you can help this effort at Sandhills Community College, contact Lori Degre, director of Career Training Programs at 910-695-3939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.