CULLOWHEE – Professors from Western Carolina University's construction management program, one of the fastest growing academic programs at the university, recently met with representatives from school systems in Charlotte to discuss the details of participating in the N.C. Construction Career Academy.

The academy is a collaboration between Western, community colleges, North Carolina school systems and the construction industry. It is designed to prepare N.C. high school students for careers in the construction industry.

At the recent meeting Michael Waskew, construction instructor at Olympic High School, provided the proposed curriculum for a new Construction Career Academy. Brett Fansler, director of technical careers at Central Piedmont Community College, and Steve Corriher, construction institute coordinator at CPCC, discussed details of establishing an associate's degree in construction management that will allow students to transfer into Western's program.

The CPCC program also will be aligned with Olympic High School's Construction Career Academy.

“Construction Career Academies are not a new concept across the nation, however Olympic High School will be the first to incorporate one in North Carolina,” said Bradford Sims, director of Western's construction management program.

School systems from Buncombe, Durham and Forsyth counties also are considering participation in the N.C. Construction Career Academy.

The program allows ninth-grade students to enter the Construction Career Academy for their four years of high school. During that period, local construction companies provide mentorship and summer employment to the students and the high schools participating in the academy.

While in high school, participating students must complete a college preparatory program, which will allow them to enter into a higher education construction management or civil program. At the same time, students will take vocational classes in a trade, such as carpentry or masonry. The classes will be taught out of the National Construction Center for Education and Research accredited program for crafts using the organization's guidelines and text for each level in a trade.

Once the students graduate from high school, they will already be nationally certified in a trade, have construction industry experience, and be able to enter into a construction management or civil program.

Construction management is a professional service that applies effective management techniques to the planning, design and construction of a project from beginning to end for the purpose of controlling time, cost and quality. New graduates in the field can expect entry-level salaries in the $35,000 to $45,000 range, with nearly 100 percent job placement, said Sims.

For more information on the N.C. Construction Career Academy or the construction management program at Western, contact Sims at (828) 227-2175.

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Last modified: Monday, June 21, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Western Carolina University