County schools offer plumbing, pipefitting
MADISON COUNTY – First in the state, Madison County Career Technical Center will offer a plumbing and pipefitting program of study.
School leaders have partnered with several industry professionals and associations to launch this initiative. Their action is in response to an identified shortage of these skilled laborers in the building industry.
“This is the first program like this in the state of Alabama,” David Wilcox said. Wilcox is executive director of the Alabama Plumbers & Pipe/Gas Fitters Examining Board. “The concept of a full partnership with industry and schools I don’t think has ever been done in our industry before.”
Wilcox spoke to the Madison County Board of Education and superintendent on Aug. 25. “I just want to applaud you all for being first. Other school systems are already excited and are watching to see what is happening here,” Wilcox said.
“We’ve been working hard … to enhance our career tech opportunities,” superintendent Matt Massey said. “Most importantly, it gives our students an opportunity to enhance their skills and be trained for a career that could begin as soon as they graduate.”
Career tech director Michael Romine said the new program would help with efforts in community workforce development. “This is a model for how to partner with local industry … and fill an existing gap,” Romine said.
A group of local and state industry partners formed the Home Builders Association of Alabama Foundation to allow companies to donate in support of Madison County’s pilot program. The foundation presented $10,500 to Madison County Schools.
Members of the Industry Council in Madison County contributed to the foundation. Industry council members include Larry Durham, Durham Service Company; Dennis Dean, Dean & Son Plumbing Co. Inc.; Scott Dean, Dean Plumbing Co. Inc.; Mark Stephens; Park Supply Co. Inc.; and Gene Satterfield, All Weather Heating and Air Conditioning Inc.
Alabama Plumbers and Gas/Pipe Fitters Board, working with Ridging Tool Company and Ferguson Plumbing Supply, donated a pipefitting machine valued at approximately $4,000.