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Del Webb Grants $1 Million to CCC Construction Program

The smell of freshly-cut hardwood drifts through the lab and classroom space. A saw whines. Hammers bang.

“Measure twice. Cut once.”

More than 40 people, students of the construction trades, are busily work on projects in the space – building an Adirondack chair, a nightstand and installing a water heater in a nearby section. The space is limited and barely adequate.

But now, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Del E. Webb Foundation, Coconino Community College’s Construction Technology Management (CTM) program will be getting a makeover to help the College meet construction industry demands in the county for skilled trade workers.

“The shortage and demand for the skilled building trades is the highest it has been in 10 years in our community,” said Ken Myers, CTM faculty member at the college. “With this funding, CCC intends to build a training facility geared specifically toward improving the skilled workforce and providing our students with a space and skills to fill the demand.”

“This gift will allow our construction and mechanical trades program to get to the next level with facilities and state-of-the-art technology,” added CTM faculty member David Cain, Ph.D.

The funding, to be received by the CCC Foundation, will serve several purposes: renovate the current Construction Technology Management facility at CCC’s Fourth Street campus; expand existing CTM classes; and add in-demand programs like heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) technology, welding technology, electrical technology, solar and wind technology and electronic drafting.

The ultimate goal is to increase the number of degree and certificate earners from an average of 30 students to 94 students in a three-year period.

According to the grant proposal submitted to the Del E. Webb Foundation, the funding also “will lead to livable wages, jobs and careers in the construction trades and much-needed employees for businesses relying on skilled workers in the Northern Arizona region and the state of Arizona.”

“The news about the grant to enhance our construction program will mean so much to our students and employers in our region,” said CCC President Colleen Smith. “Our communities have been sharing with us the need for a trained workforce in various areas, and the construction industry is at the top of the list.”

CCC will continue to support educational opportunities for all our communities in Northern Arizona, including Williams, Page, Tusayan and Flagstaff, she added. “We have amazing faculty, and we are excited we get to further develop our construction program and provide them the resources so that they can serve more students.”

“The Del E. Webb Foundation was honored to give this award to the Coconino Community College construction and mechanical trades program,” said John B. Lees, Ph.D., president of the Del E. Webb Foundation board. “We feel this project will provide long-term benefit by meeting a critical need, not only in the community but in all of Northern Arizona as well.”

According to the October 2018 report from the Department of Labor Statistics, construction projections for 2019 show that all areas of construction are on the rise, including carpentry, electric, plumbing, HVAC and masonry. Demand in these areas is increasing by an average of 12 percent a year.

Locally, contractors in the construction trades have noted critical shortages in the area’s skilled workforce.

Michael Loven, president of Loven Contracting, said, “The skilled labor force is so low in Flagstaff that we’re bringing in skilled labor from Phoenix to fill the demand.”

Steven Hanson, owner of Flagstaff Comfort Systems, said, “We do not have the trained workforce in Flagstaff for our HVAC operations.”

The total project budget is $1,058,500, with $997,500 coming from the Del E. Webb Foundation, and $60,950 coming from CCC.

Del. E. Webb was a building contractor best known for his Sun City “retirement community” design. At one time, his company was one of the largest operating in the United States. The Del E. Webb Foundation was created in 1960 with the mission to “invest in productivity that results in long-term benefits” and the vision to invest in “results-based programs that will impact the future of our society by allowing it to reach its maximum potential.” The Foundation distributes millions of dollars annually to institutions throughout Arizona, California and Nevada.

For more information about CCC and all programs, degrees and certificates available, visit coconino.edu. FBN

Larry Hendricks is the public relations coordinator at Coconino Community College.

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