Colleges offer crash course in construction

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2008

FRANKLIN—Hard hats and construction sites are on the agenda for the 35 students and 35 teachers who will be attending this year’s Hard Hat Camp.

The Hard Hat Camp is put on by the Workforce Development Centers of Paul D. Camp Community College and Tidewater Community College. Now in its third year, the program has expanded to inform high school students, along with teachers and counselors, about careers in the construction industry.

&uot;One of the things that’s most needed is making students aware of those careers,&uot; said Tidewater Community College’s Workforce Development Center’s Vice President Theresa Bryant.

This year’s program will take place at TCC’s Virginia Beach campus Wednesday and Thursday, and will include presentations by area educators and experts from various industries, including electrical, concrete, masonry, roofing and flooring. Experts in other construction fields will also give presentations.

Teachers or counselors and students from local schools will also compete in a building project on the first day.

Teachers and counselors had to register as a pair with a student in order to attend the program.

The past two years only teachers and counselors could attend. Teachers and counselors encouraged involving students at last year’s camp, and the change became official this year.

&uot;We didn’t want it to be just a camp for students; we wanted to make that connection between students and professionals,&uot; Bryant said.

Campers will also receive safety instructions and take trips to a residential development site at Highland Perish in Virginia Beach and a commercial construction site on the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk on day two.

Upon completion of the two-day program, teachers receive a $250 stipend and students receive a $100 stipend with the promise that they will inform other students about the construction industry.

The stipends were provided by program cosponsors Tidewater Builders Association and Associated General Contractors of Virginia, Bryant said.

This year’s program reached capacity—twice the size of the past programs. Plans to expand the program will be discussed after assessing this year’s program, Bryant said.

&uot;If we can expand it, I’m sure we will,&uot; she said.