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Seattle college launches certificate program to help meet homebuilders’ worker shortages

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In response to widespread shortages of skilled workers in the home building industry, Seattle Central College’s Wood Technology Center recently unveiled a certificate program in Residential Construction. As part of the one-year micropathway program, students will have the opportunity to work for a local construction company during the day and attend classes at night.

Two options are offered: 1) for those who are new to the construction industry with no prior knowledge or experience; and 2) for those who currently work or formerly worked in the construction field but seek formal training to advance their career. The program blends in-person and online instruction.

In addition to instruction on appropriate tools and materials for various contexts, the curriculum covers carpentry skills, stair building, interior and exterior finishing skills, and more.

The program follows the Homebuilding Institute’s curriculum (endorsed by the National Association of Home Builders) and leads to NOCTI Certification (Carpentry Basic), the only nationally recognized homebuilding credential.

Graduates of the Residential Construction program can apply that learning into an associate degree in Multi-Occupational Trades or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Sustainable Building Science Technology at South Seattle College.

Several companies offer paid employment to students in the program, with some also paying a portion of tuition and fees. Scholarships are also available.

The median salary for residential construction jobs is $65,000 annually, with more experienced workers earning upwards of $105,000 per year, according to information from the college.

Research by the Home Builders Institute (HBI) indicated the construction industry faces a shortfall of 200,000 workers, based on 2020 data. The group, which trains skilled workers for the building industry, believes the number has now surpassed 300,000, with 60% of builders reporting a worker shortage.

“This persistent challenge endangers the affordability and availability of housing and hinders a robust economic recovery,” suggested Ed Brady, HBI’s president and CEO.

Seattle Central College indicated additional start dates may be offered later in the academic year if there is demand. More details on the program are online and on a 2-page program flyer. Questions may be directed to Rachael St. Clair, director of continuing education, or by phoning 206-934-5449.

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