CHARLOTTE – Finding qualified construction workers is a big problem in the Charlotte area but the soon-to-be-opened Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center will help close that gap beginning early next year.
In partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Central Piedmont Community College and Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction, the new Goodwill center will train students and adults alike for careers in the booming construction industry.
The training center will provide educational opportunities in various construction trades. It will be housed in a former warehouse across the street from Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, which is a CMS magnet school. The 15,000-square-foot center is expected to open in early 2019 and serve approximately 400 adults and 120 youth each year beginning in 2020.
The center will include labs, classrooms, coaching rooms and training spaces with laboratory bays.
“We recognize the skilled trades are an essential part of helping build our growing city, and having these skills can lead to in-demand high-potential careers,” said Chris Jackson, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “We’ve come together with CPCC, CMS and ROC to make the path to these careers possible for the people in our region.”
The total cost of the center, including outfitting it with fixtures, is expected to be $2.7 million. About $1.6 million of that has been raised so far.
“That funding has come from local churches, some construction
industry representatives, and we are still looking to finish raising those funds,” said Brian Otto, director of construction services.
Adults and students will be able to obtain certification in a variety of trade skills that are in great demand not only in the Charlotte area but across the country. Students and adults will receive the training free of charge. Any CMS student can participate in the youth programs, and anyone in the community can access the adult programs.
“The trade school objective is to train in electrical, mechanical, light plumbing, apartment maintenance, also the CAD program,” Otto said. “We are also looking at a masonry program, and the advanced carpentry program.”
Otto said the partnership with CMS broadens opportunities for students in the district.
“This is something that CMS doesn’t have the capacity to utilize in their existing facilities,” Otto said. “The youth will have the opportunity to get that hands-on training.”
Matt Hayes, who is the CMS North Learning Community superintendent, said the new program will allow students to gain meaningful employment in the construction industry.
“You are talking about jobs averaging anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 a year after completion,” Hayes said. “The beauty of it is that it has multiple tracks to it.”
Dana McDonald, Goodwill vice-president of talent development, said adults can take advantage of the new center. Many of the adults will train at night as most are currently working other jobs and looking for better economic opportunities. Goodwill has run a construction program for 10 years but the new center will greatly expand that outreach.
“We simply do not have enough skilled workers,” McDonald said. “It will also contribute to economic mobility in our community. This new center will go beyond our basic construction program.”
Like almost all industries, construction has become more high tech and the new facility will train people for those jobs, McDonald said.
“You still have your basic skills like carpentry and masonry, but technology is becoming an important part of it,” McDonald said.
Want to learn more?
The Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center is located at 1335 Alleghany Street. Visit https://goodwillsp.org/about-us/construction-center/ to learn more.