Students at North Lake College practice plumbing skills.
North Lake College
Industry-partnered program to train skilled trades workers for job-ready work in construction
Partnered with construction industry associations since 1979, North Lake became DCCCD’s sole location for construction trades programs in 1989. The Construction Education Foundation (CEF) was founded in 1996, and in 2000 North Lake opened its West Campus DFW Education Center with 60,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and shop space.
Goals are to train individuals with no experience for work-ready and management jobs, and to enhance current workers’ skills.
The construction industry contributed $1.25 million of the $1.5 million cost of North Lake’s facility. CEF spent more than $400,000 in additional lab and equipment upgrades through 2013, not including donations from instructors’ companies. Students’ fees are paid by their companies.
Students learn construction basics, starting with wood frames.
North Lake offers a Construction Technology Commercial Construction certificate in partnership with CEF. CEF also offers noncredit craft classes in commercial carpentry, commercial field engineering, electrical, HVAC, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal and welding, as well as industry supervisory and OSHA-approved safety training.
Construction associations originally provided training through many separate trade organizations, but many students preferred completing certificate programs or degrees for college credit; North Lake’s Construction Technology program sought increased enrollment. The college-industry partnership is a win-win situation that provides college credit through North Lake with CEF’s industry contacts and outreach; combining facilities and resources makes it cost-effective. Limited physical space continues to be a challenge as enrollment increases. Sharing the facility, providing students the classroom and lab space they need to master their crafts, remains an objective for the continued success of both programs.
A close working relationship between partners includes regular meetings with industry advisory boards with technological and strategic planning from the construction industry. Cooperative work creates a bridge for students from the classroom to employment.
In 2013, 96 students completed craft-trade programs and 83 received industry certificates, with 277 companies participating and 1,901 students enrolled in courses.
A successful partnership requires both parties to put the student first and keep communication channels open. Shared processes require planning and flexibility.
“ This partnership is recognized by NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) and ACCE (American Council of Construction Education) as a recommended model for workforce development. This 35-year partnership has enriched the knowledge and skill base of all levels of our industry from the entry-level worker to the seasoned project manager. ”
America’s Career Infonet lists these statistics for salaries and job growth in Texas:
North Lake CollegeWorkforce Education and Continuing Education972-273-3357
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