Free construction course promises jobs for Alaskans


by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE - In this tough economy finding a job can be back breaking work and so can construction.

Employers often search for applicants with a wealth of experience. One group says they are preparing the future of Alaska's construction work force and they are doing it for free.

The free two week course teaches those interested in starting a career in construction, basic skills. 

"By the time its done it will be walled off and look pretty neat like a room," said Jason Burd a student at the Anchorage Construction Academy. 

For Jason Burd putting the finishing touches on the small mock room he built is just a taste of the skills he will learn in the free two week construction course.

"Right now were learning how to frame, were getting ready to do some sheetrock," said Burd. "The class I took before this was insulated concrete flooring.  I'm just learning a lot about the industry and i'm liking it very much."

Burd recently went to the alaska job center looking for work, that's where he found out about the free program. No stranger to hard labor Burd says this course is intense.

"They told me that they give free classes here and they will help you get a job and give you the basic skills that are needed to get started," said Burd. "Its a pretty good program the instructors are very good teachers and they know a lot about what they are doing."

The academy can offer the free courses because of grant funding by the Alaska department of labor and workforce development.

They also partnered with the Construction Education Foundation which conducts academy's across the state.

"Our goal is to train Alaskans to work in the Alaska construction industry or better their chances of getting into an apprenticeship program if thats the route that they would like to go for there career field." said Tiffany Caudle, a program assistant for the Anchorage Construction Academy.

Caudle says the academy is one of the only places in the state where anyone can receive no cost - high quality construction training.

"It varies with every class but we do have a very high success rate," said Caudle. "Our classes have helped a tremendous amount of people receive construction related jobs."

This course will continue through the 18th of April - just in time for these students to hop into construction season with free tools in their belt. 

The academy located in Mountain View will host another free class - Helmets to Hardhats - for veterans who want to transition into the construction industry. To learn more you can contact their office at 569-4704.

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