Coastal Bend Treasure

Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend: the education pipeline from the classroom to the workforce

By: Dr. Janet Cunningham

Educational post-secondary institutions are the key in providing an educated and skilled workforce. Not only are the local colleges doing their part, but Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend (CTCCB) is also responding to the increased demands for workers.

CTCCB is a unique post-secondary training facility that teaches industrial crafts where high school students and adults earn national training credentials, certifications and licenses in a Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program. Getting students ready for the workforce is a major objective of the CTCCB, but giving Coastal Bend high school students a jumpstart on future careers immediately after high school graduation is also a major goal.

Starting students through the education pipeline begins with summer programs for middle school students in grades six through eight at the CTCCB. The two-week summer program gives these youth a hands-on experience in welding, plumbing, electricity rigging, scaffold-building, fall-protection, safety, pipefitting, hand tools, power tools and construction mathematics. It also teaches students soft skills like being on time, shaking hands, showing respect, establishing eye contact and speaking clearly. The students must submit to drug testing before being accepted in the program, and they are subject to random drug tests while participating in the intense camp.

Dr. Michael Sandroussi believes that starting students early is critical to getting them ready for the workforce. “Students need to learn early that craft skills training will provide a great quality of life,” he says. “All of our students at CTCCB understand this concept and are attaining training credentials that will impact their quality of life in a positive manner.”

Also preparing for future careers are high school students and adults. More than 300 students from 19 school districts are enrolled in the training program this year. The adult program consists of approximately 320 adults, and the CTCCB has more than 20 offsite locations throughout the state called Accredited Training Education Facilities (ATEFs) consisting of more than 400 students. All courses are taught using curriculum designed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

NCCER develops and publishes a world-class national curriculum created by subject matter experts throughout the United States. NCCER certification is often required by area employers for employment. The NCCER curriculum facilitates school districts in meeting the new requirement of House Bill 5 for career pathways to earning training credentials, certifications and licenses.

All classes meet or exceed Texas Education Agency requirements, and through CTCCB programs, students may earn the following: Career & Technology Education (CTE) credit, NCCER training credentials, Del Mar College Continuing Education credit, CTCCB graduation credit and American Welding Society (AWS) certifications.

Many of the high school students participate in local, state and national competitions during the year. The main focus of the training program is to produce well-educated, drug-free craftspeople.

The CTCCB is an organization that has received local, state and national accolades, including recent recognition in the Wall Street Journal. The Coastal Bend has a treasure; it is called the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend!

Dr. Janet Cunningham is the executive director of Citizens for Educational Excellence, and Dr. Michael Sandroussi is the president of Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend.




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