As the Education and Safety Director of the Greater Tennessee ABC Chapter, Michele Correnti has helped 32 schools utilize NCCER curricula. Working with schools and teachers in the Greater Tennessee area, Correnti wants the next generation of craft professionals to have industry credentials backed by training and education.
“Any time a student can get a certification in the crafts, it’s a further step into the world of construction – where there is already a huge shortage,” Correnti said. “It is with great passion that we want to see these young men and women succeed in the crafts and NCCER is a perfect stepping stone for this.”
Last summer, Correnti helped the building construction technology instructor at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), Kelvin Davis, receive his instructor certification with NCCER. After Davis passed the Instructor Certification Teaching Program in July 2018, his students were eligible to receive credentials for their hard work in his class.
As a construction instructor for 10 years, Davis knows the value and importance of connecting students to the construction industry. After taking the Instructor Certification course with NCCER, Davis immediately fell in love with the program and was eager to bring it to his students.
Davis teaches at a technical college; however, he teaches 10th, 11th and 12th grade students from three surrounding counties. His course is available to these students at no cost to them.
Since switching to NCCER curricula, Davis notices that his students are more eager to learn about the craft and put their skills to the test. With the potential to receive credentials while still in high school, Davis’ students work harder to earn their credentials at the end of the year.
By working closely with Davis to learn the material and practice their skills, his students gain valuable experience that will kickstart their career in construction.
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY
To refine their skills, the construction technology students at TCAT contract work from the community for a small fee, if the materials are supplied. This system helps both the community and the students as the community can receive work for a low cost and the school gets a little extra money to cover materials, textbooks and training costs.
In the past, Davis’ students have completed several projects like making tables, dressers and even refurbishing some old church benches that were found in a barn. These projects give the students experience with speaking to clients, figuring out what they want and then executing a project for them.
As their teacher, Davis believes in quality over quantity. He ensures his students are seeing projects through from beginning to end. When the project ends, he wants his students to be proud of their work and to feel like they did a quality job.
In his classroom, students aren’t only interacting with customers in their community, but also with craft professionals. Local mobile home plant, Fleetwood Mobile Homes, donates a lot of material to Davis’ program and has worked with Davis to create a special certificate.
At Davis’ discretion, he can award students the unique certificate at the end of the year for good performance throughout his class. With this certificate, students can go to Fleetwood Mobile Homes and have a guaranteed job at the plant. By automatically passing the application and interview stages, Davis’ students can start their career right away.
Additionally, with the material donations from Fleetwood, Davis and his students were able to construct a tiny house for the second year in a row.
Using only a reference photo, Davis and the students at TCAT were able to construct a tiny home from scratch completely in-house. With flooring, appliances and other materials donated by Fleetwood, the tiny home was constructed and then sold to the public.
Working with Davis and other industry professionals, students got experience building a home from beginning to end. From constructing the frame to installing the floors to working on the electrical wiring, the students were able to gain a lot of valuable experience.
The home was complete with a mini fridge, lighting, and a bathroom with a functioning toilet and shower. With 160 square feet and six to 10 feet of headspace, the tiny home was put up on govdeals.com to be sold in an auction. After 22 bids, it sold for $17,128.
With the introduction of NCCER credentials to his program, Davis has seen a change in his student’s behavior and their excitement toward the program.
"Now, they see that they can get a certification and a piece of paper and a card – and that just means a lot,” Davis said. “The word is getting out and I’m getting more students.”
As students and parents discover the construction program and the potential of credentials and a guaranteed job, Davis is hoping to see increased enrollment and excitement for the program. Every year, he allows eighth-graders to tour his classroom and learn about the program. This year, he has seen students become increasingly interested with the possibility of a career in construction.
“The word is getting out about the certifications and I love it,” he said. “It’s a good deal.”