Chipola awarded $1.7 million for welding and construction

Chipola College was recently awarded a $1.7 million grant to support the collegeÂ’s welding and building construction programs. The grant funds will be used to expand the programs to support Hurricane Michael recovery efforts pertaining to residential and commercial construction.

Funds for the grant are part of the Rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery Training Program: Hurricane Michael project, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. 

Chipola President Dr. Sarah Clemmons, says, “We are proud to be a part of Rebuild FloridaÂ’s Workforce Recovery Training efforts. Our new Building Construction program is helping to train workers to rebuild homes and businesses devastated by the hurricane. Our first class also has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for local families. Our welding program is providing highly-skilled workers for good-paying jobs in the area.” 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Office of Long-Term Resiliency supports communities following disasters by addressing long-term recovery needs for housing, infrastructure and economic development.  DEO is the designated state authority responsible for administering all U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) long-term recovery funds awarded to the state. 

Florida has been allocated funds to support long-term disaster recovery through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR). CDBG-DR is designed to address housing, infrastructure and economic development needs.

CareerSource Chipola will provide support and assistance to students who need additional help. 

ChipolaÂ’s Building Construction Technology program, led by instructor Scott Phelps, prepares students for employment or advanced training. The 1,050 clock hour program covers electrical, plumbing, heating/ventilation/air-conditioning, masonry, carpentry, and the use of hand and power tools. Students also will work with math and construction drawings of floor systems, walls, ceilings and roofing. Students are exposed to all the steps in a building process, and are exposed to entrepreneurship skills for those who want to start their own businesses. 

The high demand for construction jobs is expected to continue in the area well into the future. Students in Building Construction can move into the workforce or continue their education in ChipolaÂ’s Two-Year AS Degree in Civil Engineering Technology. 

Instructor Curtis Jenkins leads the Chipola welding program which utilizes state-of-the-art welding equipment, mobile welding units, and simulation technologies. Workforce Florida projects annual growth of 13,500 jobs in advanced manufacturing and construction, with 75% requiring postsecondary training. Better than average annual growth is predicted for the welding trades.

Students interested in the construction and welding trades may be eligible to receive state or federal financial aid or scholarships for these programs.