The first class to complete the intensive 10-week, 40-hour construction training course offered by Jefferson Community College was celebrated at a recognition ceremony Friday at the Lewis County JCC Education Center.
About 26 unemployed or underemployed participants completed training that earned them industry-recognized credentials from the National Center for Construction Education & Research Construction Trades training in core construction and carpentry.
This class marks JCC’s “foray into our technical program,” JCC Associate Vice President of Workforce Development and Business Terrence Harris said.
Partnerships with the construction industry and the community helped JCC to target the training, but it was the instructors, Mr. Harris said, who fine-tuned the implementation and taught the institution what it didn’t know about trades courses.
“Before the implementation of the program we called the instructors together… and the instructors said to us, ‘OK, where are the tools?’” Mr. Harris said. “Tools? well, ah, we didn’t think about that.”
Now, he said, they know.
As part of the program, each student was provided a tool belt and a complete set of hand tools. The free course also supplied a gas stipend and bus transportation between JCC’s Watertown and Lowville campuses for those without vehicles.
“For being the first class, it was structured perfectly. What they taught made us prepared, they hit on everything we’ll need to get started,” said Samuel Mohran, Lowville.
Mr. Mohran and classmates Jordan Miller, Lowville, and Levi Parisian, Dexter, all agreed class instructor Jason Ashlaw, of Associated Builders and Contractors, did a great job training a class with participants ranging in age from 19 to 59.
In his address, Mr. Ashlaw reminded his students of what they’ve gained. “You carry with you two toolboxes: one toolbox contains the tools you need to do the job, the other toolbox contains your knowledge and experience. What we have done is placed the first layer in those toolboxes.”
The students also agreed that JCC’s Director of Community Services Kathleen Morris, cited throughout the event as the driving force for the course, was “an angel” and that she “made this class what it was.”
Officials present at the ceremony included many Lewis County legislators, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, R-Black River, and Mary Jo Richards, constituent liaison for U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, making some students feel like their “votes matter” and the officials are “paying attention,” they said.
Graduating from the program were Edward Barton, Matthew Bass, Joshua Beaumont, David Brownell, Gary Burns, Matthew Caulkins, Rafael Contreras, Kyle Corp, Seth Dailey, Jesse-Lee DeMarco, Jamie Florence, John Gault, Devrin Hannan, Eric Harding, Kevin Kitto Jr., Brian LePlatney, Kaid Miles, Jordan Miller, Samuel Mohran, Christopher O’Connor, Levi Parisian, Casey Smith, Cole Snyder, Zachary Turner, Jason Valade and Quinton Walters.
The North Country Training initiative was funded by a $100,000 grant from the state North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
“You are now a part of the JCC family … and we treat our family well.” Ms. Morris said to the class in her closing remarks, “We are there for you. This is the first step and we are going to offer you many, many other opportunities after this.”
Construction industry partners who helped form the program and committed to help graduates find jobs are Purcell Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors, Northern Tier Contracting, Structural Associates, Con Tech, Black Horse Group Contractors, Jake’s Lawn Care, Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors, Lawman Heating and Cooling, Northern Glass, Blackstone Electric and BCA Architects and Engineers.