SMCC launches Construction Institute, innovative program to support construction industry

SMCC President Ron Cantor

SMCC President Ron Cantor

Southern Maine Community College is helping the state’s construction industry with a new program that provides Mainers a flexible pathway to grow their skill sets and advance their construction careers.

SMCC’s new Construction Institute, which launches this fall, was developed in collaboration with members of Maine’s construction industry to provide training that is essential to the industry. Builders have had trouble finding enough qualified workers at a time when southern Maine has experienced a surge in construction projects and low unemployment.

The Construction Institute aims to address the changing needs of students and the construction industry by offering convenient schedules and stackable courses that allow students to progress at their own pace, SMCC President Ron Cantor said Wednesday at the construction site of the future headquarters of Sebago Brewing Co. in Gorham.

“The Construction Institute teaches skills that are in high demand while allowing individuals to continue their education without having to complete an entire degree program,” Cantor said. “As an added benefit, students can apply the classes toward a degree or certificate in Construction Technology should they choose, giving them the option to further their education even more in the future.”

With Maine’s economy at full employment, contractors out straight and an aging workforce, the new program will benefit Maine’s construction industry, said JonathanSmith, president of Great Falls Construction in Gorham, who also serves as president of the Associated General Contractors of Maine trade association. Great Falls Construction is building Sebago Brewing’s new headquarters and brewery.

Great Falls Construction President Jon Smith

Great Falls Construction President Jon Smith

“We’re doing a lot as an industry to bring the next generation of construction workers along,” said Smith. “Anything we can do along those lines will help. There’s no shortage of need from the industry.”

The Maine Quality Centers is providing grant funding for the Construction Institute to the first 16 qualified Maine residents. The five courses offered this fall are Building Concepts & Leveling; Print Reading; Tool Safety; Construction Safety; and Framing Methods.

After completing the program, students will earn a certificate of readiness and be able to explore job opportunities at a meet-and-greet session with employers. Additional information about Construction Institute is available on SMCC’s website.

For students seeking a certificate in Construction Technology, SMCC also offers a 24-credit one-year certificate that provides technical and hands-on experience and prepares people for a career in the construction industry. Students completing the program receive an Academic Construction Certificate.

For students seeking a college degree, SMCC offers a two-year associate degree in Construction Technology. Students may now enroll in the program for the Fall Semester.