NWACC Helps Skilled Laborers Get Needed Training

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) --A growing population means more commercial and residential properties are being built all across Northwest Arkansas, which means there's also a growing need for construction workers.

Several construction companies throughout the area have posted help wanted signs on their construction sites.

Northwest Arkansas Community College said they've seen a 60 percent increase in enrollment for their apprenticeship programs in the last two years.

“There's a substantial need for skilled laborers really at every level of the operation to plug into the construction industry here in Northwest Arkansas,” said Keith Peterson.

Dean of Workforce Development Keith Peterson said NWACC is trying to be responsive to the needs of the community by offering an apprenticeship program in electrical, plumbing and HVAC as well as a construction technology degree.

Project manager at Oelke Construction Chad Bottorff said while he knows other companies have experienced a shortage of workers, they have had the same steady crew.

“It's really picked up in the last year...we`re starting projects all over from Springdale to Bentonville” said Bottorff. "We've been really fortunate and times are good."

Bottorff said they aren’t just looking for laborers, but also project managers and superintendents. He said programs such as the one at NWACC really help with finding those people.

Peterson said the program works with major construction companies in the area to make sure his graduates have the skills companies are demanding.

“The increased population I think demands that we have that kind of workforce trained in Northwest Arkansas,” said Peterson. "If we've got skilled professionals that can meet those needs, then this is going to be a place that people want to live."

NWACC will also be offering an applied science degree in construction technology starting this fall.




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