Building futures


Student Reporter

Amarillo College will add a new construction program in January 2022. Administrators say the new program will prepare students for job opportunities in construction trades.

“Students will develop basic skills needed so that when they are employed, they will be immediately more profitable to their employer,” Ernie Sheets, a construction trades coordinator, said. “Through that, they can look into specific trade areas that interest them in the future.”

The new program will offer two construction pathways—general construction and carpentry, according to Claudia Arnold, technical education adviser. 

Students can expect the program to offer a hands-on approach under the supervision of Sheets, who is a construction expert.

“For the past 10 years, I was with CISD developing construction trades there,” Sheets said. “We are hoping to achieve the goal of students being able to work and earn credits at jobs through internships and a workday program here.” 

David Hall, associate dean of industrial technology, said the program’s focus is to give students hands-on experience with equipment and techniques common on today’s job sites.

While many construction jobs can be acquired without a college degree, AC’s new program will give students a head start in the construction industry by bridging the gap between students and employers. 

“My passion is to connect students in careers with the trades,” Sheets said. “I’ll be continuously talking and interviewing local businesses that are in need of students to fill job openings that they have.” 

With help designing the program from an advisory board consisting of local businesses, Sheets said things are looking good. 

“We are really excited about getting equipment purchased for the shop and tools for the trade,” Sheets said. “Classes are getting lined up, and courses are already listed in the AC schedule.”

Prospective students are encouraged to enroll through AC’s web portal during registration, which begins Nov. 8. 

“No prerequisites are required to come in, just an interest in building and construction,” Sheets said. “Students must simply meet the requirements for getting into AC.”

 Sheets said he is excited to see the light turn on for students interested in construction trades because of the growing need for trade workers. 

“There has been an absence in conversation about successful, well-paying jobs that are in the construction trades,” Sheets said. “There is a shortage of people in those careers, and the industry is looking for potential outlets for employees in the field.”

The program’s website is coming soon, but Sheets said students can reach him by email with any program – related questions. 

Students with enrollment questions should call Claudia Arnold at 806-335-4221.

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