Career Connected: SWIC’s Highway Construction Careers Training Program

The SWIC Highway Construction Careers Training Program prepares students for a variety of jobs in the construction sector.

st. Louie — “Carpenters, iron workers, plumbers, electricians, you name it,” says SWIC HCCTP Program Coordinator Edward He White.

The question “what do you want to be when you grow up” is daunting. But at Southwestern Illinois College, students have the opportunity to explore career options they might not have considered!

“I also learned how to make drywall, which is my current favorite and what we are working on,” says student DeShaun Fountain.

SWIC’s Free Highway Construction Career Training Program prepares students for a world of career possibilities in the construction field. The program includes both book work and hands-on projects. Students are not just building highways. You’ll also learn carpentry, framing, drywall installation, and how to use manual and power tools.

“Not only is this a free program, but you pay $10 an hour during training,” says White.

Program coordinator Edward White explains that the aim is to get students into the union’s apprenticeships as the craftsmanship ages. Union construction isn’t just a job, White said, it’s a high-paying, insurance, and retirement career.

“I’m trying to get into carpentry,” says student George Coleman.

“The hardest part was installing this wall and the whole building, which took several days. It was very difficult,” says Fountain.

“It wasn’t easy at all. We had to come here as a group and build together. That’s basically it,” says Coleman.

SWIC also focuses on diversity in this area.

“The key is trying to introduce minorities and women into the industry and bring them into the industry,” says White.

“The reason I decided to join this program was to find an opportunity to do something challenging, something I hadn’t done before, something new,” said student Zarya Gates. increase.

For Zarya Gates, the program gave her the chance to do something she’d always wanted to do. Students encourage other women to do the same.

“I tell them to make this trade. Do something for real and embrace your feminine power,” Gates says. “We have to come together. We have to do what we really want to do. If we don’t have control over what we want to do, if we don’t strive for it, where would we be? ”

SWIC prepares these students for jobs such as general labor, building and maintaining temporary support structures, and cleaning work sites. All of these opportunities would not have been possible without SWIC and the influential instructors behind its tools.

Classes start in February. For more information, visit or call 618-874-6528.

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