In The Community

Building the Construction Workforce

RALEIGH, N.C. (December 5, 2023) – In an era where the demand for skilled craft professions in the construction industry is growing rapidly, Wake Tech stands as a shining example of a forward-thinking institution dedicated to meeting the needs of its community.

With its comprehensive array of programs and commitment to student success, Wake Tech has emerged as North Carolina's largest community college, offering a wide range of educational opportunities. However, it is the strategic partnership with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) that has truly revolutionized Wake Tech's construction education program, addressing workforce shortages and expanding enrollment.

Power of Partnerships Strengthens Wake Tech's Commitment to Transform Lives

Wake Tech, with a rich history as a leader in education dating to 1958, has consistently evolved to meet the changing needs of its community. Serving more than 63,000 students annually across its multiple campuses, the college has become synonymous with educational excellence and accessibility. Wake Tech offers more than 250 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs, preparing students for immediate employment or university transfer. Its commitment to equitable access to education and transforming lives through economic mobility and personal fulfillment is the cornerstone of its mission.

Wake Tech's construction education program stands out among its competitors by offering diverse educational pathways. From one-semester certification programs to a variety of apprenticeships and degree options, Wake Tech ensures that individuals from all walks of life have opportunities to obtain training and secure employment in trades such as carpentry, electrical, HVAC/AHR, plumbing and welding.

National Public Radio recently reported that community college enrollment has been trending down significantly since the pandemic hit, but skilled trades programs are booming as students are recognizing the value of hands-on skills. Additionally, construction education programs are becoming more competitive because research continues to indicate that some skilled trades workers are earning more than their four-year college peers.

Wake Tech's collaboration with NCCER has been a game-changer for its construction education program. NCCER's regularly updated and standardized, industry-leading curriculum ensures that students receive the highest quality education and that their credentials are recognized nationally. The partnership has also facilitated instructor certification, ensuring that subject-matter experts are adequately equipped with the skills to effectively deliver training to students.

Wake Tech's Nationally Recognized NCCER Training, Success Stories and Impact

NCCER's industry-recognized credentials provide Wake Tech students and young professionals with a significant advantage in the construction industry. With credentials accessible online and verified through NCCER, individuals can showcase their skills and qualifications with ease, enhancing employability and facilitating mobility across job sites and geographic locations. Employers benefit from standardized training and can confidently assess the capabilities of potential hires.

Wake Tech's construction education program continues to produce numerous success stories, transforming lives and empowering everyone involved.

Eric Dohnert is a 2015 graduate of Wake Tech's program. After working as an electrician for many years, Dohnert was encouraged to pursue his license but realized he needed to fill gaps in his knowledge before sitting for the exam. He took Wake Tech's program and was impressed.

"It's a very thorough program, very enlightening," he said. "You learn about the tools you're working with and the rules and regulations you need to work by. It taught me everything I needed to pass the test."

Dohnert now owns his own company, E.D. Electrical Services, and has hired two apprentices, including his son, who are also taking Wake Tech's program.

From individuals transitioning from unemployment to prosperous careers in the trades to graduates like Dohnert who now own their own companies, Wake Tech's impact on the construction industry is undeniable. Employers value the quality of graduates from Wake Tech's program, reinforcing the value of the partnership with NCCER.

"Our employer partners like NCCER because it's a comprehensive curriculum and really gives students the chance to be exposed to all the topics they're going to see on the job," said WakeWorks Apprenticeship Director John Wojcik. "NCCER standardizes the training so that employers can be confident in the skills their apprentices are being taught. The things students learn in their classes at night, they get to apply on the job the next day."

Staying Ahead of the Curve by Inspiring the Next Generation of Skilled Craft Professionals

By adapting to trends and industry advances and partnering with NCCER, Wake Tech remains at the forefront of construction industry education. The involvement of corporate partners and employer feedback ensures that Wake Tech's curriculum remains relevant and aligned with industry demands. By incorporating employer recommendations, Wake Tech's construction education program prepares students for emerging technologies and changing industry landscapes.

Promoting skilled crafts to young people, educators and instructors plays a vital role in exciting young people with career opportunities in the construction industry. Wake Tech truly believes that providing hands-on experiences for students and employing tools such as virtual reality will help inspire the next generation of skilled craft professionals and help the nation address the severe shortage of construction workers that the industry faces.

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January 2024

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