Gila Community College recently partnered with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to offer students the opportunity to participate in ADOT’s Construction Academy. The Academy prepares individuals to enter highway construction trades or apprenticeship and successfully obtain journeyman status.
The Academy prides itself on excellent workforce development through collaboration with contractors, according to program manager Corey Foster.
This is reflected in the classes the Academy offers. Students can study a variety of topics, ranging from highway painting to computers and technology to resume writing.
In the construction industry, Foster believes that excellent job training is crucial to success in the field. “The industry focuses on credentials,” he said. “They want to know you can perform.” Upon graduation, the Academy’s hope is that every student will have an extensive resume of skills relevant to the construction industry.
Arizona is expected to gain one million new residents and nearly 543,00 new jobs by 2026. The state’s population spike will require transportation system renovations and expansions, which is why the Academy is committed to preparing its students to be meaningful contributors immediately upon entering the field.
The Academy has partnered with several community colleges including Gateway, Pima, Yavapai and its most recent partner Gila Community College. “Gila has been really strong with expanding their operation,” commented Foster. “They have a great board in their college.”
In its first year, the Academy has helped 450 people to gain employment, and Foster and his team are working to expand their reach. Based on ADOT’s 5-year plan which assesses the transportation needs of different areas in the state, the Academy is able to decide which partnerships to pursue. They are currently working to expand to Tucson, Yuma, and rural areas in the state.
Since its founding, the ADOT Construction Academy has seen success in employing its students and developing partnerships, and anticipates further success in the years to come.