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Nationally recognized training program takes root in Syracuse

Movers and shakers would be nothing without builders. So it’s important that Upstate New York Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) and the SUNY Educational Opportunity Center recently presented their first Construction Training Open House in Syracuse

 The program provides a training facility complete with instructors offering area contractors pre-trained individuals capable of entering the construction-related workforce. The Upstate New York chapter is part of a national organization designed to support and enhance the abilities of minority contractors.

 President of Upstate New York Chapter of NAMC, Otis Jennings explains, “When we started dreaming of this initiative there were two things that we thought were critically important: making Empire State Association of Minority Contractors a 501 (c) (3) organization and have a relationship with National Association of Minority Contractors because they represent the minority initiative on a national level.  We were able to secure that. We have that from Albany to Buffalo, and there’s a downstate chapter in New York City. 

 “The second piece that was critically important to develop a relationship with national training model to have a certification that is not only portable, but real from an accredited construction management school that offers more than 50 different types of skills as far as the construction field is concerned, and we hooked up with the University of Florida. So when these men graduate from this program they not only going to have a journeymen labor status, they’re going to have certifications in forklifting, operating heavy equipment  and  laser leveling technology, just to mention a few of their skills.” The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) Student Certification, of which Jennings is the local administrator, is recognized by the Department of Labor in all 50 states.

 NCCER student certifications include: OSHA 10 Hour Course, Construction Essentials, Craft Labor Level 1 and 2, Laser Leveling and Forklift Operation.

 Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) partnered with the Central New York chapter of NAMC to assist in creating skill-specific resumes. There’s also a relationship with Huber-Breuer, Syracuse Housing Authority and Syracuse Community Health Center to utilize these graduates in their future building plans. Mark Harris is NAMC’s lead instructor. Harris has 25-plus years as a journeyman mason.

 Located in East Syracuse, the training center incorporates classroom instruction including blueprint reading and mathematics training among other skill-building initiatives that are crucial to succeeding in the construction industry.

 At the open house, NAMC showcased skills included demonstrations in the following areas; Scaffold Building and Dismantling, Cement Mixing and Finishing, Laser Level, Carpentry, Masonry, Bidding and Estimating.

NAMC trainers immersed program participants in detailed training modules including, but not limited to, building scaffolding, mixing and pouring concrete, using a tape measure, and they know construction math. Graduates also must be capable of reading blueprints. These were some of the skills that they’re able to acquire with this training model.

Co-founder of NAMC Stanley Dean explains the importance of mathematics.  Without this, it’s difficult to work in construction, so for two weeks, every day we worked on math. If you can grasp this, it’s endless what you can do. The final result was a class moving from simple fractions to algebra. That is what I’m most proud of.”

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