BY FREDA MIKLIN
Opened in November, the Western States College of Construction (WSCC), located at 1391 Speer Blvd in Denver, “is committed to supporting our industry by providing quality educational and training opportunities at our eight education centers. WSCC’s affiliated apprenticeship programs provide the opportunity to build an exceptional and fulfilling professional career in our industry. Our students earn excellent salaries while learning and practicing construction or service under the leadership of highly motivated construction professionals and mentors.”
WSSC is open to students who are at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED Completion Certificate and hold a valid driver’s license. It offers programs in electrical, HVAC/R service, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal, at locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction which are apprenticeship-based and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. They include instructional coursework necessary for state licensure requirements. WSSC is not a degree-granting institution. There is no tuition charge and materials cost from zero to $850, depending on the field of study. Salaries earned during apprenticeship range from $35,000/year to $81,120/year and go up to as high as $114,000 after completion of training. Most programs are five years WSCC’s placement rate ranges from 96% to 100%, depending on the field of study.
In a recent panel discussion at the Common Sense Institute (CSI), Dave Davia, CSI board member and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Mechanical Contractors Association, talked about the WSSC, where he is also a board member. Davia said, “It’s no secret that in the 1980’s and 1990’s, shop class, wood class, automotive…were taken out of our K-12 (education) system, so the visibility to the trades was diminished. The only way that someone would learn about the possibility of a career path in the trades was to have an uncle or aunt or somebody in the profession. We need 50,000 more workers in construction by 2028…We have ten training centers we work with and we are turning those into college campuses…”
He explained that laborers who perform services like installing furnaces or hot water heaters are credentialed by the Department of Labor and that after getting over 9,700 hours of training at WSCC at a nominal cost, “You graduate with a $75,000-per-year job. Nowhere else does that exist.”
Dr. Mostafa Khattab, president of WSCC, served as a professor and department head at Colorado State University from 2007 to 2019. He is currently listed on CSU’s website as Professor Emeritus, Construction Management.