SMCC shores up construction industry with new institute

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College is launching a program to promote the building trades.

The Construction Institute “was developed in collaboration with members of Maine’s construction industry to provide training that is essential to the industry,” SMCC spokesman Clarke Canfield said in a prepared statement. “Builders have had trouble finding enough qualified workers at a time when southern Maine has experienced a surge in construction projects and low unemployment.”

Fall classes start Aug. 29 and run through Dec. 14, and will teach skills such as building concepts and leveling, reading blueprints, 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,” Canfield said. 

The institute will offer “convenient schedules” that will “allow students to progress at their own pace,” SMCC President Ron Cantor said July 26 at the site of the future headquarters of Sebago Brewing Co. in Gorham, where the program was announced.

The program will benefit Maine’s construction industry because the state is at near “full employment” and the industry is having difficulty attracting skilled workers, Jonathan Smith, president of Great Falls Construction in Gorham, said in the SMCC news release. 

“We’re doing a lot as an industry to bring the next generation of construction workers along,” said Smith, who also serves as president of the Associated General Contractors of Maine trade association. “Anything we can do along those lines will help. There’s no shortage of need from the industry.”

SMCC also offers a two-year associate degree in construction technology. 

“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.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661, ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Southern Maine Community College President Ron Cantor on  July 26 in Gorham, where he announced the college is starting a Construction Institute.

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