DCCC program lays the groundwork for construction careers
Jarrett E. Brown
Dodge City Daily Globe
August 21, 2013
The Dodge City Community College Building Construction Technology program, in its third-year of operation, has established itself as a source of trained construction industry employees, according to the program’s two professors.
The program’s professors, Pat Shiew and Joe McLaughlin, both veterans of the construction industry, teach a wide-variety of topics which introduce the students to many different areas of the industry in which they can eventually enter.
Students who already know what they would like to specialize in and who have firm goals in mind are able to get specialized instruction from the professors, Shiew said. Some of the students aspire to work as general contractors, real estate investors, estimators, home inspectors, or in other areas.
The construction technology program’s students learn the basic skills and industry standards which will enable them to be productive and knowledgeable employees. “They will be able to go into the workforce and be good entry-level employees,” McLaughlin said.
Shiew and McLaughlin use classroom instruction and real-world training in order to prepare the students for issues that they could face on future construction projects. The two professors emphasize the importance of doing tasks correctly and safely, each professor said.
The training that the employers provide will enable the students to reach their full-potential. “We are setting the ground work, which they [the students] can build off of,” McLaughlin said.
Shiew and McLaughlin work with a 14 member advisory board comprised of local construction industry business owners and managers in order to find out what the needs of local companies are, Shiew said. The professors use the feedback to develop the program and determine which skills should be emphasized.
When the program started three-years ago, it lacked the necessary equipment and facilities for it to be successful. “We used whatever tools I could drag over here,” Shiew said. The program’s facility, located at the corner of S. 14th Ave. and Beeson Rd., is now fully-equipped with top-of-the-line tools and equipment.
Classrooms, work areas, offices, and bathrooms have all been constructed within the building in order to transform it into a space suitable for teaching and practicing construction skills. “Last year at this time, this building was a shell with nothing inside,” Shiew said.
The program’s students have done and continue to do all of the remodeling. According to Shiew and McLaughlin, they have demonstrated a high-level of skill and ability, so far.
The benefits of having a career-focused curriculum, up-to-date equipment on which the students can practice their skills, and a suitable facility have already proven to be beneficial. Members of last year’s graduating class, the program’s first, have all found steady employment in the areas of the construction industry that they had hoped to work in. “We had 100 percent placement last year,” McLaughlin said.
The graduates are helping to fill a nationwide need for trained construction industry employees. “The [program’s graduates] are employable,” McLaughlin said. “We teach them to be enthusiastic, motivated, and have a good work ethic.”