Getting Young People Interested In Construction Careers – DC Students Construction Trades Foundation

This is the second installment in our ongoing series that focuses on highlighting programs and organizations aimed at introducing young people to, and getting them interested in, careers in the AEC industry. Today we are going to look at the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation and I’d like to thank Stacey Ehring with Shapiro & Duncan Mechanical Contractors for suggesting we take a look at this organization.

The DC Students Construction Trades Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2002 in order to address a skilled worker shortage that a number of developers and construction firms were facing during a high growth period with lots of construction and redevelopment going on in the District. In addition, the DC Public Schools had all but abandoned offering career and technical education classes due to low enrollment. To combat this skilled worker shortage and provide vocational training, the Foundation partnered with the DC Public Schools and the JOBS Coalition to establish the Academy of Construction and Design at Cardozo Education Campus which opened in September 2005.

Students at the Academy of Construction and Design take academic courses in order to meet the requirements for high school graduation in addition to receiving pre-apprenticeship training through technical classes and by participating in hands-on building projects. Students are taught about a variety of disciplines in the AEC industry including architecture and design, HVAC, carpentry and sustainable building based on the curriculum of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Students can also earn credentials recognized by the DC Apprenticeship Academy and by the Associated Builders and Contractors apprenticeship program for the state of Maryland.

Students get hands-on experience through Build A House, Build A Future where they have an opportunity to combine their classroom instruction along with mentoring from professional builders and licensed instructors to work on projects at real construction sites. For the 2014 school year students at the academy are building a 160 SF micro house that will feature sustainable features such as solar panels and insulation made from recycled blue jeans.  The hands-on experience and technical training prepares students for careers right out of high school, apprenticeship programs and post-secondary education. Admission to the Academy is through an application process that requires students to write an essay on why they want to attend the Academy. Students being considered for admission must also go through an interview and assessment process.

In addition to the Academy of Construction and Design, the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation has three other programs in order to provide further training and education. The DC Apprenticeship Academy is the only apprenticeship-related skilled trades training site in DC and is available to employees of companies registered with the DC Office of Apprenticeship. The Green Jobs Training program provides curriculum for students and certification for industry professionals seeking LEED accreditation and ratings. The Foundation is a registered provider of the Green Advantage training program. The Adult Education program offers DC residents pre-apprenticeship training through a partnership with the DC Department of Employment.

If you would like to learn more about the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation you can visit their website here.

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