Bob Hammer had a vision of training young people who wanted to learn skills that would qualify them for Alaskan construction jobs. Last year his dream became a reality when the ribbon was cut at a new building facility located at the Kenai Economic Development Center that now houses the Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy (KPCA). Hammer is now president of the KPCA board of directors and along with Kathleen Castle, Alaska Construction Academy executive director and Dan Bohrnsen, career development director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District selected two local prominent two prominent businesses to receive Employer of Excellence Awards. “The formula for our success in creating the Construction Academy for the Kenai Peninsula was being able to have community industry and businesses buy into the program. They have been very supportive and now sit on our board of directors giving us guidance and direction for what they need, we are able to train a workforce for industry and the jobs that they have available. And today we wanted to express our appreciation for their support, time and efforts put into this project to make it a success,” Hammer told the Kenai Chamber of Commerce at a recent luncheon. Receiving the Employer of Excellence Awards were Mike Sheppard of CONAM Construction and Tom Pellegram of PEAK Oilfield Services.
According to Hammer over 80 students have been trained at the academy thus far in the year 2013 and have been or will be employed shortly, “As soon as spring finally gets here,” laughed Hammer, “We not only teach the skill necessary, but also work ethic basics like showing up for work on time, happy to be their and acting like you really want the job and appreciate having the work,” he said. To young people graduating or interested in pursuing a career with good paying jobs in the construction workforce Hammer says there are many opportunities available, “Not everyone wants to pursue higher education in academia, there are lots of good paying high end jobs especially in construction that are available for young people who want a career locally in Alaska. A great thing about our construction academy is that there is no cost to the student. It’s just a matter of going to the Job Center in Kenai and filling out an application and when we have enough interest to fill a class we’ll start another class. There are a lot of apprenticeship programs available to students where they can work and get paid while completing their schooling,” he said. The Alaska Job Center is located in Kenai at the Old Carr’s Mall, call 283-2900 for more information or check them out on line at www.jobs.alaska.gov