Inverness, Fla. – What started as an abstract idea over a year ago culminated on Wednesday night with the graduation of nine ready to work students. The Construction 101course offered at Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC) prepared students with OSHA safety training and hands on skills to enter the construction workforce with an educational advantage. The students were awarded with certificates and sponsored buckets containing tool belts and essential tools.
“This was more than filling an industry need,” Executive Director of the Citrus County Building Alliance (CCBA) Donna Bidlack said. “It’s people helping people.
The Construction 101 class was a joint venture between the CCBA and WTC that designed an eight-week course preparing people to contribute to a construction project on day one. Students complemented classroom coursework with two Saturdays spent applying what they learned to Habitat for Humanity houses in Inverness. Scholarships for the class were offered through CareerSource and many of the students came from the PATH Shelter.
“Construction projects are a team effort and creating this class was no different,” Mark Hammer, CCBA member and chairman of the Construction Academy, said. “To see it all through to completion tonight was truly something special. But this is just the first of many steps.”
Th long-term goal of the CCBA and WTC is to offer the courses to high school students for dual-enrollment credit. This is referred to as the Citrus Construction Academy. Due to high demand, an additional Construction 101 course has been planned to be offered in May of this year as more people look for the skills needed to enter the construction trades.