On October 19, 2021, Sandhills Community College (SCC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Breakthrough Construction Center at the Larry Caddell Training Center located in Carthage. The center is specifically designed to teach plumbing, HVAC, and construction classes. 

In April 2020, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded SCC $680,000 through the Community-Based Grants Initiative to build and help equip a 3,600-square-foot multi-disciplinary center with three classrooms, two labs, and an open training space. 

Golden LEAF funding leveraged approximately $500,000 in funding from the William L. and Josephine B. Weiss Family Foundation, the Palmer Foundation, Peterson Funds from the Sandhills Community College Foundation, the American Red Cross, and Sandhills Community College Workforce Development Funds.

Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton cut the ribbon at the event.

“The availability of a skilled workforce is a critical component of a community’s economic strategy,” said Hamilton. “The Golden LEAF Foundation is pleased to be able to help move the economic needle by increasing the available pipeline of skilled construction trade workers for employers in Moore and Hoke Counties.”

According to surveys of area employers, there are 740 current construction-related job openings in the region and a critical shortage of construction workers. Programs at the Breakthrough Construction Center will offer short-term workforce training that can lead to quality jobs. Area high school students will also participate in the construction trades programs through Career and Technical Education (CTE) and dual enrollment through Career and College Promise. So far, the College reports 90 students enrolled in courses underway this fall.

National credentials in HVAC, Carpentry, Construction Project Management, and Plumbing can be earned in these short-term training programs at Sandhills. Classes are open enrollment, meaning community members of all skill levels are encouraged to register and learn the skills necessary to fill the jobs in our community. Most classes can be completed in four to six months, with the majority being offered two to three nights a week.

Because of the enormous generosity of SCC’s funding partners, the cost of these construction classes is waived so there is no cost to the student. High school students can also take classes through the Workforce Continuing Education Career and College Promise WCE CCP program in coordination with their high school. Fees are also waived for these classes that meet five days a week for one semester, and students earn both high school and college credit/credentials along with Sandhills Promise credit.

“We have been looking for a proper space to offer construction training at Sandhills for quite some time. This is the perfect marriage of resources to provide a great space for the training,” said John Dempsey, president of Sandhills Community College.

(Original story by Golden LEAF Foundation; picture courtesy of Golden LEAF)