ADOT-sponsored program offers a hand up to construction careers

By David Woodfill / ADOT Communications

Construction Academy classroom

In the sports world, they call it an assist when one player helps another player to the goal.

It doesn't matter who we are. We all need an assist at some points in our lives.

ADOT's Construction Academy program, which offers free training in transportation construction, aims to do just that. By removing barriers, it offers a path for women, Native Americans and other economically disadvantaged groups, including those who are unemployed, a path toward jobs in the construction trades.

Whether it's offered through a community college, a Native American tribe, an employer or another venue, a Construction Academy provides hands-on activities and classwork on evenings and some weekends. The program also helps with transportation and child care and provides coursework material including hard hats, safety vests and boots.

We shared last week that one benefit of this program is helping more women start construction careers. Since 2014, about 35 percent of the 600 Construction Academy graduates have been women. Nationally, women comprise about 9 percent of the construction industry's labor force, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Construction Academy participants go on work as flaggers, heavy equipment operators, highway surveyors, electricians and more. Depending on the position, they start out earning $14 to $24 an hour, and sometimes more.

We offer the Construction Academy through a Federal Highway Administration workforce-development grant.

For more information or to apply for a Construction Academy, please visit azdot.gov/BECO, call 602.712.7761 or pick up materials at the ADOT Business Engagement and Compliance Office, 1801 W. Jefferson St., Suite 101, in Phoenix.