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Bob Jones transitions agri-science, construction

Wade Thompson, at right, with North Alabama Craft Training Foundation speaks to the fourth-block metal fabrication class at Bob Jones High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Wade Thompson, at right, with North Alabama Craft Training Foundation speaks to the fourth-block metal fabrication class at Bob Jones High School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Agri-science at Bob Jones High School is expanding with construction, framing and welding training from a partnership with North Alabama Craft Training Foundation (NACTF).

The foundation is providing industry resources and experts to help Bob Jones students with craft skills like carpentry, welding and electrical work.

“We’re making a shift from agri-science to building science (because) the area has shifted from a farming community to a technical and skill-oriented community,” teacher Robert Slack said. Career technical education helps students succeed in either college or career paths.

This semester, 50 boys are enrolled. Next semester, 69 boys and 1 girls have registered, and Slacks hopes more females will enroll. “Female students tend to have a high success level in the program due to their natural attention to detail,” he said.

NACTF offers a major benefit to students by introducing owners, managers, supervisors and tradesman in the construction industry. These individuals volunteer to speak with students about their companies, work responsibilities and available jobs. Occasionally, the foundation contributes a modest donation with building materials.

NACTF’s Wade Thompson and Matthew Gardner, district manager with International Fire Protection Inc., already have met with Bob Jones students.

Bob Jones and NACTF use curriculum from National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). After finishing this study, Bob Jones students can enter NACTF training at a discount, and their skills are documented in a national database for a lifetime.

Bob Jones students must complete basic curriculum that corresponds to the entry level for each craft field. Then, students can enter a first-year NCCER course for any craft (carpentry, welding, electrical, pipe fitting) “ahead of someone with no training background,” Slack said.

NCCER curriculum covers safety, hand and power tools, construction math, basic rigging, introduction to construction drawing, basic communication skills and employability skills and introduction to material handling.

“I believe this class opens up doors for new jobs in the future,” Bob Jones junior Jordan Blankenship said. Senior Hank Cooper said, “This is a good course because I’m learning real life skills that will help me in the future.”

NACTF’s address is 26670 Success Drive in Greenbrier.

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