Students continue preparing for skilled jobs despite pandemic

Classes have moved online.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 1:56 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 1:56 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Hands-on learning online is a new challenge in getting students ready for skilled jobs.

Northwest College of Construction is in Portland, but right now, all classes are online. They call their apprenticeships the original four-year degree.

Whether it’s construction, carpentry, concrete work or getting behind the wheel of heavy equipment, the first thing the college does is place you in a job with a contractor. From there, the construction industry pays for your tuition and books while you get paid and get hands-on training.

The training requires exams, which will come later when Gov. Kate Brown’s stay at home order is lifted.

“Our classes are in modules rather than a classroom for the entire quarter unlike a regular college, so we’ve designed the courses so at the end, the instructors will do a quick refresher, and they’re going to do their hands-on performance and their exams,” said Katrina Cloud with the Northwest College of Construction.

Cloud said construction workers in Oregon are fortunate. Brown ruled construction work essential amid the pandemic

“Bridges are still being built,” Cloud said. “This is a great time to be looking at our infrastructure for roads and that sort of stuff and some of our contractors are really, really busy with schedules. Some have been pushed up, there have been layoffs for some folks but luckily we have a lot of contractors that are still able to pick up the other people who are laid off.”

In Washington, construction is not considered essential, but there are some exceptions.

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