CROWNPOINT, N.M - Three Navajo Technical College (NTC) instructors were certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) early this summer to train students for national certification in the construction industry.
Alvin Allen, Shelton Morgan and Jones Lee were all certified after carpentry instructor Tom Bebo went through the program the previous summer. The certification was a two-day event where participants had to successfully pass ten modules on how to properly instruct and implement the NCCER curriculum in the classroom.
"The crossover is going to be expensive because we're going to have to change curriculum," explained NTC instructor Alvin Allen. "But it's a big plus for the students being in an industry where every bit of experience helps."
By becoming certified through the NCCER, each instructor can train and certify students in construction technology trades such as electric, plumbing, carpentry and welding.
Allen, who is in his 11th year at NTC teaching Construction Technology, stated that he receives about 62 students in the program each semester, a number that is expected to increase.
"A lot of entities want older people to go back to school," stated Allen. "Places like NHA and NECA are sending some workers to us because they have experience, but they're not certified."
While many companies are utilizing NTC's certification program to benefit its employees, many younger workers can utilize the experience as well.
"Being on a job site, you see a lot of kids not ready to work and you have to turn them away," explained Allen, who has over 20 years of experience in residential, commercial and industrial construction. "But there are a lot of construction jobs on the Navajo Nation, and I think this will help them get their foot in the door."
An added benefit to having certified instructors at NTC is that any student who completes the Construction Technology program can be automatically entered into NCCER's national data base system, and will receive credentials and documentation of their training accomplishments.
According to Jones Lee, the Carpentry instructor at NTC's Chinle branch, the certification will open a lot of opportunities for students..
"Right now I'm only teaching carpentry classes, but we're working on getting our own Construction Technology program," stated Lee. "A lot of students want to learn how to weld or do electrical wiring, but we don't have the equipment for it. Now that we're certified, I can start teaching the curriculum and hopefully by the time we get the supplies we can start teaching the different trades - which we're now certified to do."