Pictured: The inaugural graduates of South Suburban College's new Highway Construction Careers Training Program.
SOUTH HOLLAND, ILSouth Suburban College (SSC) recently added one more graduation to its list of ceremonies this spring with its new Highway Construction Careers Training Program (HCCTP). On May 10th, SSC presented certificates of completion to 13 of 15 students who enrolled in the pilot program back in February. HCCTP is one more short-term program that the college hopes will provide job seekers with more options.
HCCTP is an intensive 450 hour program held over the course of 12 weeks, for 40 hours a week. Prospective students must meet three simple requirements to be eligible to start the application process: they must have a driver's license, must have a high school diploma or GED, and must be at least 18 years of age. The application process starts with mandatory orientation followed by assessment testing. If the student passes the assessment test they are then given an interview and sent for a drug test before getting started.
SSC received the grant for HCCTP in the fall of 2013 from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and administered through the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). In addition to an HCCTP Certificate, graduates of the program walk away with 30 hours of OSHA Certification, Illinois Flagger Certification and Lift Truck Certification (Class I-IV) from the National Safety Council, Crane Signaling, First Aid, CPR/AED, Aerial Lift Certification, Certificate of Completion in Math for the Trades and Introduction to Welding and Blue Print Reading. They also gain valuable experience from hands-on training in carpentry, scaffolding erecting, cement finishing, and roofing. The class went on fieldtrips to the carpenter and pipefitters apprenticeship training centers to see firsthand what those trades do, and they participated in a six hour training course on the basics of green building and LEED Certification. Another aspect of the 12-week course is sitting for the National Career Readiness Certification Exam, of which all of SSC's pilot graduates passed including two who received gold level certification (Shawn Higgins of Calumet City and Michael White of Chicago).
Of the 13 who graduated, Tavarus Braggs of Harvey has already been accepted to the Laborers Apprenticeship Program, five graduates have applied to the Carpenters Apprenticeship Program, and four have submitted their application to the Pipefitters Apprenticeship Program.
"It is very exciting to see doors opened for our graduates that may have been closed before," said Rebecca Garcia, HCCTP Program Coordinator. "Watching someone come in with the desire to change their life and then see them do what is takes to make it happen is truly amazing! I cannot wait to see how this program grows and changes lives in the future."
South Suburban College is currently halfway through their second HCCTP class. The college is seeking participants for the next open section, scheduled to start July 14, 2014. For more information, please call 708-225-5822.