CCC&TI Trade Up Program Introduces Caldwell, Watauga Teens to Construction Jobs

HUDSON, NC (June 11, 2021) — This week Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute launched a new pre-apprenticeship program on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson and welcomed the program’s second group of students to the Watauga Campus in Boone.

The Trade Up program, which debuted on the Watauga Campus last summer and expanded to the Caldwell Campus in 2021, is sponsored in part by the Caldwell County Home Builders Association and the High Country Home Builders Association, along with support from Lowe’s in Boone and Lowe’s in Lenoir. Students, ages 16 to 18, will complete 96 hours of construction fundamentals, soft skills classroom instruction, along with 192 hours of on-site construction experience with a local employer. The tuition for the program is waived allowing students to attend for free while earning credentials and getting paid for the on-the-job-training time.

Watauga Campus Caption: Lowe’s of Boone presented Trade Up students on Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga Campus with tool kits on the first day of class that they will eventually use on local job sites. From left to right: Keri Randolph, Lowe’s Pro Services Specialist, Kayla Cook, Lowe’s Front End Department Supervisor, Eli Greene, Watauga High School junior, Aidan Styron, Watauga High School senior, Zechariah Wright, home school junior, Joel Day, home school junior, Thomas Jones, home school junior, Michael Workman, 2021 Watauga High School graduate, Dawn Roach, Lowe’s Store Manager and Marco Alcivar Perez, Lowe’s Talent Acquisition Partner.

This year’s class includes six Watauga County students and 14 Caldwell County students. The 8-week program combines classroom instruction and hands-on experience with local employers to prepare students for careers in the construction trades. The goal of the apprenticeship is to introduce local students to career and training opportunities, while also filling a growing industry need for skilled workers.

The participating High Country employers are: JS Design Build/Alar Homes of Zionville, Charleston Forge of Boone, VCP Builders of Jefferson, New Leaf Homes of Boone, Jeff’s Plumbing and Repair of Fleetwood and Baker-N-Sons/Elite Electric of Jefferson.

Caldwell Campus Caption: Lowe’s of Lenoir presented Trade Up students on Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Caldwell Campus with tool kits on the first day of class that they will eventually use on local job sites. Front, left to right, Lowe’s Pro Specialist Kelly Norman, South Caldwell junior Jacob McCrary, South Caldwell High School junior David Smith, South Caldwell junior Matthew Teague, South Caldwell junior Dalton Sigmon, Lowe’s Store Manager Janie Patton and Lowe’s Department Supervisor Carol Landis; Rear, left to right, Instructor James Reed, South Caldwell junior Jackson Brinkley, Hibriten junior Lakken Watson, South Caldwell junior Dezmond Hackett, South Caldwell junior Lucas Swanson, South Caldwell junior Grayson Kirby and South Caldwell junior Davidson Allen.

The participating Caldwell County employers are: Triplett’s Plumbing of Lenoir, Moss-Marlow Building Company of Hickory, Brushy Mountain Builders of Lenoir, Hibriten Construction of Lenoir, SteelCon-Precision Contracting of Lenoir, Premier Electric of Hudson, McMillon Electric Company Inc. of Lenoir and Wilkie Construction of Lenoir.

“There is a tremendous regional need for workers in construction and other skilled trades,” said Dr. Mark Barber, CCC&TI Associate Dean of Vocational and Technical Studies. “By introducing this opportunity to students while they’re still in high school, we’re able to educate them about local career opportunities while also helping prepare the next generation of workers for area employers.”

On the first day of class at both locations, representatives of Lowe’s brought students essential tools for when they’re on the job.