Larry Kness (left), owner of Nest Construction Service and a San Jacinto College graduate, reviews construction site plans with his son Justin, who serves as an assistant construction superintendent for Nest. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
College to reinstate construction management program
Rob Vanya, April 19, 2012
HOUSTON – To meet a shortage of trained workers in a high-demand career field, San Jacinto College (SJC) is reinstating a construction management program.
SJC offered construction management classes from 1992 through 2006 at the North Campus, and the College will once again offer the program at the North Campus beginning with the Fall 2012 semester, which starts on Aug. 27. Registration for the Fall 2012 semester begins on April 30. The program will feature a two-year construction management associate of applied science degree option, and a one-year certificate of technology option, both emphasizing green construction.
Students will be trained in commercial and industrial construction management fields. Construction managers work in the coordination and supervision of construction projects, not the manual labor part of projects. Construction management students will learn about the conceptual development and organization of projects, pricing and procurement, cost scheduling, estimating, scheduling, and implementation of projects. Students will become knowledgeable in civil, carpentry, mechanical and piping and plumbing systems, electrical/electronic, building envelopes, legal contracts, codes, and permit processes.
There will be a course on commercial and industrial blueprint reading, and a course on construction safety that qualifies students to sit for the OSHA 10-hour certification. Students will also learn about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, which incorporate emerging “green building” technologies. The program will qualify students to sit for the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Green Associate certification. Planned internships will provide students practical on-the-job experience.
According to the job search website www.rileyguide.com, there is a high demand in the greater Houston area for well-trained construction managers. For example, a job search for the Houston zip code 77049 produces 1,959 job postings.
Before launching the construction management program, SJC conducted a needs assessment survey to determine the industry’s current and future needs for graduates and industry support for the program. “Of the companies responding, 92.3 percent indicated they would benefit from having San Jacinto College offer an associate degree in construction management, and 7.7 percent indicated they might benefit,” commented Michael Varnell, North Campus’ engineering technology department chair. “None indicated they would not benefit from the College offering the program.” Furthermore, 28.6 percent of the survey respondents indicated they were very likely to hire SJC graduates, 42.8 percent indicated they were likely to hire SJC graduates, and 28.6 percent indicated they might hire SJC graduates. None indicated they were unlikely to hire SJC graduates. Also, most of the survey respondents indicated they would support construction management students by offering either paid or unpaid internship sites so students can gain valuable hands-on experience.”
Varnell says that graduates of the new construction management program should have no problem finding jobs. When SJC offered a construction management program from 1992 to 2006, the job placement rate for graduates was very high. In fact, during the final five years of the program, the job placement rate for graduates was 95 percent.
According to the Texas Industry Profiles website www.texasindustryprofiles.com, construction management is a fairly lucrative career field. Entry-level workers can expect to make an annual salary of about $46,082 ($22.15 per hour). The median annual wage of construction managers is $71,764 ($34.50 per hour), and experienced workers can expect to make an annual salary of about $92,278 ($44.36 per hour).
To keep pace with emerging trends and developments, SJC’s construction management students will learn to coordinate new construction projects, as well as how to retrofit existing buildings, with an emphasis on conserving energy, reducing waste, and being more environmentally responsible. Students will also learn how to use Premavera and Timberline, the industry standard computer applications for scheduling and construction estimating.
Larry Kness, owner of Nest Construction Service, credits SJC with helping him to launch his own construction management business. “What I learned at San Jac was literally life-changing for me,” commented Kness, who earned a certificate of technology degree in construction management at the College in 1996. “Before I attended San Jacinto College, I was always working for someone else in construction work. I gained skills and knowledge that enabled me to start my own company. I went from just knowing how to turn a wrench for someone else to learning how to coordinate and oversee entire construction projects from start to finish.”
Kness started his construction company in 2001, and it now employs three full-time managers, and 35 full-time sub contractors. They provide a complete range of commercial construction services, as well as commercial remodeling services, with most of the clients being banks. He says his company has been very busy from the first day of operations. “Even through the lowest point of the recession, we have had plenty of work,” Kness commented. “I found through experience that the key to success in construction work is twofold – quality of workmanship, and versatility. You have to establish a reputation of always doing excellent work, and you have to do anything a client needs. We can build a new facility, but we also can do any kind of repair or remodeling job, from changing light bulbs, changing ceiling tiles, installing new signs, whatever. We just never say no.”
Kness, who serves on the College’s construction management advisory committee, says he is glad SJC will once again offer a construction management degree program. “It’s great news for the area,” he remarked. “I know what taking construction management classes at San Jacinto College did for me, and I know there are a lot of people just like me who are looking for opportunities to better themselves, to upgrade their skills, to go from laborer to manager. Now they will be able to get the training they need.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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