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King Career Center Expands Job Opportunities for Students

Published On: Oct 18 2013 10:29:12 PM AKDT   Updated On: Oct 18 2013 10:35:47 PM AKDT

The King Career Center has gone through a slight makeover, in an effort to keep up with the growing demand of construction in Alaska.

Principal Lou Pondolfino says after years of having to work in cramped conditions, teachers now are able to teach more students.  

"We've actually have doubled our instruction space," said Pondolfino. "Our teachers would have to get here at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and plow and they still couldn't make enough room because they would be pushing snow for students to truly work out here." 

The vocational tech school used a 2011, $4.5 million dollar Anchorage voter approved bond to create more classrooms and indoor and outdoor workspace in its construction trade shops. 

At KCC, students gain valuable real world experience by building relocatable homes and other projects, which can lead to careers in welding, carpentry and construction.

"It gives them the chance to get an entry level job, and get out there and try out construction," said Mike Tucker, who is the training coordinator with Alaska Works Partnership. 

KCC has allowed the AWC to use its improved facilities for night and weekend classes for adults.

"We already know that not everyone is going to go to college and not everyone is going to make it through college, but everyone needs a good paying job so they can support their families," said Tucker.

The average salary of a construction worker in Alaska is $70,000.

Educators say about 63% of high school students enrolled in courses go on to construction jobs, with 72% of adults working within in six months.