Apache Junction Independent

Central Arizona College receives support project of the year award

Central Arizona College Superstition Campus at 805 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Sundt Construction recently named Central Arizona College was recently named the 2017 Support Project of the Year award recipient, recognizing the Craft Workforce Development partnership between CAC and Sundt.

In the spring of 2016, Sundt Construction approached CAC to explore an apprenticeship partnership in Heavy Equipment Operations.

During these discussions, a larger gap in available skilled workers emerged, leading Sundt and CAC to conclude that expanding the partnership beyond the apprenticeship was necessary and warranted.

In order to meet the growing needs of commercial construction, CAC administrators worked with Sundt leadership to develop four craft trade pathways in structural welding, concrete technology, pipe fitting and industrial construction technology.

Sundt and CAC designed every aspect of the courses and programs jointly. The process started by identifying the specific craft competencies and skills needed by Sundt and ended with five customized and tailored academic pathways.

This has led to a true partnership where Sundt provides instructors for two of the pathways and equipment for pipe fitting and welding, and CAC furnishes on-site lab space and instruction. CAC and Sundt built these pathways in less than three months, which enabled students to begin coursework in August 2017.

To date, 115 students have enrolled in industrial carpentry, welding, pipe fitting, heavy equipment operator and the operator apprenticeship program offerings at CAC, with 30 percent of the students successfully completing their program of study this past spring.

Those not completing are continuing their studies this fall.

“Student performance has been excellent, with all students to date having passing scores on the certification testing and performance profile. CAC Professors & Sundt Adjunct instructors are carrying a 95 percent National Certification completion,” James Busch, skilled trades and technology division chair and professor of diesel technology and heavy equipment operator, said in a prepared statement.

The partnership between Sundt and CAC continues to grow. Sundt hired an Industrial Carpentry Instructor and now has three adjunct instructors at CAC, while the college has added an additional professor and full time recruiter.

From the beginning of the program, Sundt has donated a pipe wall, concrete pad, industrial concrete tools, GPS system, backpacks and hard hats, and GPS-SiteTech Training.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Sundt and look forward to continued collaboration and partnership in training our students for skilled craft positions,” Mr. Busch said.

“We have activities planned to continue with the development of the CAC training area and are currently looking at multiple opportunities to provide jobsite experiences outside the college environment such as jobsite visits, vendor training facilities, Center for Craft Excellence and community outreach programs.”

Editor’s Note: Ms. Askey is the executive director public relations and marketing for Central Arizona College.