With construction workers in high demand following last October’s wildfires, 26 students from the 2018 North Bay Construction Corps program, and two-week boot camp, graduated June 22 in a ceremony held at the Healdsburg High School.
Participants get an opportunity to experience first hand, the day-to-day life on a construction site while earning academic credit from Santa Rosa Junior College’s work experience program and receiving a $750 stipend per person for their work.
The graduates completed a five-month career exploration and training program along with a two-week intensive Boot Camp where they practiced newly acquired construction stills while building four micro-homes in eight and a half days. Of the 26 graduates, there were 23 were men and three women. Several already have jobs or job offers in construction and one was accepted into a heavy equipment operator’s program.
Each 140 square foot micro-home is finished with three dual pane windows, a locking metal door, loft sleeping area, electric outlets, steel roof, classical wood siding, R-13 insulated walls and a small entry porch mounted on a mobile trailer ready for sale this summer. The asking price for each micro-home is about $6,500-$7,000 each. Program managers say there is a waiting list of buyers who want to use them as shelters for temporary vineyard workers, the homeless, or families displaced by last fall’s fire storm.
Kathy Goodacre is executive director of the Career Technical Education Foundation which sponsors the program. CTE’s goal is to work to expand and enhance career technical training and work readiness for Sonoma County students.
Goodacre acknowledged two other entities responsible for organizing the construction corps program, the North Bay Builders Exchange and Sonoma County Office of Education.
“We don’t ask students for anything. There are no course fees or costs for safety equipment, tools or materials,” said Goodacre. “Students also worked one night per week and one Saturday each month as part of the training. This is a great way for students to get a taste of working in construction.”
HONORING KEY SUPPORTERS
Goodacre thanked industry partners Doug Hamilton, from Oak Grove Construction, Jim Persons from Safety Pride, and Dominic Nuccio, vice president of operations at Ghilotti Bros. Construction, for helping to make this program a success. CTE pays student stipends from monies received through its own fundraising efforts.
Terry Pagni, a teacher at the Healdsburg High School Construction Sustainability Academy (the northern cohort), and Bill Hartman, coordinator of a similar program in Rohnert Park (the south-central cohort), were the two key instructors throughout the Friday program.
“The work ethic among these students was amazing and off the charts,” said Pagni. “This group is the cream of the crop. They caught on immediately to what had to be done, and how to do it. There were never any disciplinary issues.”
Showing their commitment to the program, immediately after the post-graduation job fair, all of the students returned to work to put the finishing touches on the four microhomes.
EXPANDING THE MODEL
Hartman said, “What started as an experiment has evolved into a new model for both student training as well as for producing a viable living space in record time. Next year this program will be replicated and expanded to include four North Bay counties.”
North Bay Construction Corps
Companies at Hiring Fair
Five minutes after the graduation ceremony, 22 companies and organizations participated in an onsite hiring fair.
ABA Custom Homes
Midstate Construction Co.
Jim Murphy & Associates
Pure Power Solutions
Larry Richmond Construction
Oak Grove Construction
LeDuc & Dexter Plumbing
Northgate Ready Mix
Miller & Elwood Concrete
Gentry Construction Co., Inc.
Local 551 Electrical
Habitat for Humanity
2018 NBBC Graduates
Karen Ramirez Robles
Antonio Serrano Gomez
Guillermo (Danny) Lino-Valazquez
Jesus Garcia Peña
Antonio Moya Arreola
Johnathan Mendoza Carlino