By Brian Woods
Victor Valley College’s Construction-Apprenticeship Readiness Program (CARP) celebrated its Winter 2020 class completion ceremony on February 12.
Twenty-nine students successfully completed the six-week accelerated program, which prepares graduates to become certified in the Core Curriculum of the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
CARP is a grant-funded initiative aimed at helping students become competitive assets in trade apprenticeship opportunities, such as carpentry, masonry, steelworks and other building and construction industries.
Superintendent/President Dr. Daniel Walden provided the opening statement, sharing his insight and personal experiences in the industry.
“Having grown up in this world, and learning the carpentry trade … I have a deep appreciation of this work. I still love the smell of fresh cut sawdust to this day,” Walden said. “I love what you do and I’m proud of you for going into this very valuable trade.”
The students were provided a luncheon banquet ceremony in VVC’s Student Activities Center, joined by program officials and representatives from the San Bernardino-Riverside Building and Construction Trades Council.
Over the six-week course, students learned from Construction Technology Department Chair Anthony Bonato and adjunct instructor Bruce Painter. They completed 150 hours of training, in subjects ranging from CPR and First Aid certification, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training, multi-core craft curriculum (MC3), power tools, reading blueprints and more.
“This journey doesn’t end tomorrow… It begins today,” Bonato told students.
As a main project during the course, the students built a 24-by-15 building behind the Automotive/Welding Vocational Complex on campus.
They constructed the building, which will serve as a storage shed for the Welding department, from the ground up, pouring the concrete, putting the walls up and building roof rafters all in six weeks.
During the ceremony, select students also shared their testimonials, with their peers encouragingly cheering each speaker on.
Mary Dellavalle, one of four women who completed the program, said she initially joined the class in an attempt to renovate her own house.
“I joined this program shortly after I retired … I thought I would never work another day again,” Dellavalle said. “But throughout this process, I learned valuable skills and learned about myself … I realized, I have a better bad day here with you guys, up on a roof, swinging at nails, than on a good day at home.”
Dellavalle, a retired environmental scientist at the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, says she hopes to use this certification to join a Carpenter’s or Engineering union one day.
Similarly, CARP graduate Jerold McQueen says that completing this program is his first step toward achieving a promising career in a union.
“This semester, I learned that we’re all a team here,” McQueen said. “Our attitude and our work ethic are lessons we need to learn in life. Victor Valley College is teaching us that.”
Students were presented with certificates of completion following the ceremony, marking the first day of their future careers in the construction and building industries.
The next program will begin in summer 2020, with the Introduction to Construction course (CT-90) and corequisite Lab (CT-91) offering students college credits and pre-apprenticeship certifications.