December 29, 2006 | Bronx Community College
Bronx, NY – “Successfully complete building trades courses at BCC and you will be on your way to finding a job in the construction industry!” That’s the enthusiastic message that Daniel Martinez, Coordinator of Building Trades for Continuing and Professional Studies at Bronx Community College, tells his students – men and women – and the community, whoever has the ambition and aptitude and wants to work in the construction trades and related industries.
More than 8 million Americans work in the building trades field. Construction is one of the nation’s largest industries, offering excellent opportunities for high earnings, career advancement, and business ownership. People with many different talents and educational backgrounds can become skilled craft persons, managers, supervisors, and superintendents. These professionals find many excellent opportunities.
Many other industries depend upon the work done in construction. From houses and office buildings to factories, roads, and bridges – begins with construction.
Martinez, a carpenter, has 22 years of professional experience in the building trades industry and has built houses for Habitat for Humanity, as a volunteer. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. It is active in the U.S. and over sixty other nations.
“BCC offers the skills in its classes to get students started towards their career goals,” says Martinez who has worked in the electrical, welding, and carpentry trades. “I believe our program is outstanding because it offers a nationally recognized industry-standard curriculum and we offer courses in Spanish.”
What are the courses candidates will be expected to learn when they enroll in the Continuing and Professional Studies program?
All students must take a shop safety class, which gives an overview of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations — safety guidelines for the classroom and the job. After that, students need to take a math class to brush up on basic math for building trades that includes reviews of measurements, fractions, division, and multiplication.
“You really need to be up to speed in your ability to make arithmetic calculations when you go into the construction field,” notes Martinez.
Students who come into Martinez’s classroom on the first day receive an orientation on what to expect in the program. On the second day, everybody has to have boots, jeans, safety clothes and other protective gear.
The next thing Martinez has students do in his class is to learn how to swing a hammer. He notes that there are not too many people that know how to swing a hammer properly.
From then on, students move quickly into a 50 hour Level I course. At Continuing and Professional Studies, each Level I carpentry class builds a two story house, in the classroom! Students do their own measurements, cut their own wood and work as a team with other building trades’ students, just as they would on a construction crew. Students use all types of hand and power tools, including handsaws, power saws, screw guns, chisels, hammers, table saws, chop saws and nail guns.
There are lots of trades specific details which other professional instructors teach. Also, students learn how to frame walls and ceilings. Once the house is finished, students bring their cameras and start taking pictures of their finished work.
The Level II carpentry course takes students through proper ways to build decks, doors, windows and ceilings. The class learns how to read blueprints and schematics. Then students install electrical wiring, plumbing pipes and fixtures.
After Martinez has critiqued the students’ house project, the class then takes the house apart. The next class of students begins to learn trades skills by building its own house again from scratch.
For those who want to specialize in electricity, plumbing, painting, building maintenance, boilers and home inspection, there are special courses that help students navigate the intricacies of wires, measurements, fuse boxes, reading blueprints, understanding codes, and pressure gauges.
The plumbing course takes students through learning the operation of many plumbing tools, fittings, cutting copper tubes, faucets and valves.
Continuing and Professional Studies’ Plumbing and Boiler class is taught by Lino Grullon who has 25 years of experience and works as a supervisor of skilled tradesman.
“The benefit of taking Continuing and Professional Studies Plumbing and Boiler classes,” stated Grullon, “is that you get a lot of hands on training working with tools.
“When you get out of the course you have the opportunity to start on a plumbing career path. The career path can lead you to jobs as a building supervisor. With these courses and some work experience you can then apply to the city for certification to open your own business,” explained Grullon. Classes are taught in the evenings and on Saturdays.
“When you come out of our courses,” states Martinez, “you can say I know something about construction to any employer or apply for an apprenticeship,” he adds.
Martinez says that many students leave Continuing and Professional Studies courses and go right to work for employers who pay well and include benefits. “My job is not only to see to it that graduates from our building trades programs gain sound construction trades skills, but to see that they have the opportunity to obtain jobs,” stated Martinez.
A promising career for people in the building trades is to become a Licensed Home Inspector. Bronx Community College’s complete Home Inspector Training course includes a full 100 hours of classroom training in compliance with New York State License requirements, and 40 hours of field training under the supervision of a Licensed Home Inspector.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that jobs for Home Inspectors will grow 14% by 2012, and earn up to $42,000 a year. Earnings are higher for certified Home Inspectors with more experience who have had a chance to build up their client pool. New York State lacks a sufficient number of qualified licensed home inspectors.
Home Inspectors observe and provide a written report of the systems and components of a residential building including but not limited to: heating and cooling systems; electrical systems; and structural components – foundation, roof, masonry structure, exterior and interior components or any other related residential building components.
For more information about building trades and Home Inspections courses offered in BCC’s Continuing and Professional Studies program, call (718) 289-5170. Or, visit Philosophy Hall, Room 14, on the campus of Bronx Community College of The City University of New York at West 181st Street & University Avenue, where you can talk to Daniel Martinez or a staff member. And, if you wish you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basic tuition costs for Building Trades Level I courses are:
- Carpentry $399
- Plumbing $389
- Electrical $369
- Boiler $260
- Level II courses for carpentry and plumbing drop to $200 to $239
- Home Inspector $2,400
- Books for each course cost approximately $70.
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