Building bright futures
With a host of new regulations and a switch to working with sustainable materials, work in construction is becoming more complicated.
To meet the growing need for education of skilled trades workers and construction managers, JCCC began offering an associate of applied science degree in construction management in fall 2012.
The program will serve those workers already in construction who would like to transfer to a management position, and it will also target students who have little or no experience in commercial building practices but would like to enter the profession, explained Susan Johnson, chair, engineering technology.
The 64-credit-hour program uses the college’s existing construction management certificate as a springboard for the associate’s degree, Johnson said.
The certificate will still be available, she said, but by adding some general education requirements in English and math and some electives in communication and social science, students can have the foundation for an associate’s degree that could lead to a bachelor’s of applied science degree at a transfer institution.
The program also includes expanded offerings in sustainability practices. Green Building Fundamentals (CET 160) was added to the curriculum only a few years ago to help students learn about “green” building, but it won’t be the only class to examine sustainability practices.
Robert Dye, assistant professor, engineering technology, said, “All of our classes now contain some amount of sustainability practices. We’re very proud that we’ve been able to make these classes work together.”
Graduates will have the background to take the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green associate certification exam, a credential in high demand as more building sites seek LEED certification.
“Society is demanding we have more green buildings, so contractors have to be on board,” Johnson said, adding that workers who have more credentials and certifications are more likely to maintain construction employment in tough economic times.
The associate of applied science degree will also prepare students to the Construction Specifications Institute’s (CSI) construction documents technology (CDT) exam.
Graduates also will have the 30-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction safety certification, which is completed as part of the degree program.
The OSHA certification is highly regarded on nearly every construction site, Dye said, and though many programs offer a 10-hour certificate, the JCCC program is extensive and covers more safety issues that may be of concern to site managers.
As the title suggests, the construction management degree concentrates as much on management as it does construction practices.
“We’re training the students to be business managers, because they have understand so many aspects of the construction business. The business just happens to be construction,” Dye said.
While some graduates will supervise job sites, acting as field supervisors, others could work for design firms, government agencies, manufacturers, architects or estimators, Dye said.“There are just so many opportunities, so many ways for students to go,” Dye said. “We’re giving them a chance to be extremely marketable.”