AHBFoundation Launches Groundbreaking Plumbers Education Program

A new education program is equipping students to enter the plumbing workforce right out of high school, thanks to the efforts of the Alabama Home Builders Foundation. The Foundation partnered with the State of Alabama Plumbers and Pipe/Gas Fitters Examining Board to launch the groundbreaking initiative in the Madison County school system.

“This is the first program like this in the state of Alabama,” said David Wilcox, Executive Director for the Plumbers Board. “The concept of a full partnership between the plumbing industry and schools has never been done in our industry before.”

The Madison County Career Technical Center was selected as the test site of the initiative, which began this fall. 111e two-year program is designed for high school juniors and seniors using a National
Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)-approved curriculum. Each student entering the program is granted an apprenticeship card issued through the state Plumbers’ Board. At the end of the program, students will sit for the journeyman plumber’s license test, with the goal of being able to immediately transition from high school to employment in the plumbing industry.

“We’ve been working hard with our local industry looking for ways to enhance our career tech opportunities;’ said Madison County Schools Superintendent Matt Massey. “It will gives our students an opportunity to enhance their skills and be trained for a career that could begin as soon as they graduate.”

Michael Romine, director of the Technical Center, added, “We are excited about the opportunity to pilot a new plumbing and pipefitting program for our area and our state. This is a model for how to partner with industry to provide a trained workforce and fill an existing gap.”

The Home Builders Association of Alabama has worked closely with the AHB Foundation and the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association Foundation to provide funding for the program. A number of plumbing contractors in the Huntsville/Madison County area have been key to the program’s success through their donations that have allowed for the purchase of tools and training materials for the classroom.

The early success of the pilot program has already led to significant interest from other school systems around the state, including Shelby County, Leeds, Montgomery and Mobile, among others. The AHB Foundation leaders also foresee other trades benefiting from a similar program.

“Our vision from the start was to develop a pilot program not only for the plumbing industry, but to create a model that could be recreated
for other trades as well;’ said AHB Foundation President Todd Slyman. “Preliminary discussions are already underway for launching a similar program for the HVAC industry:’

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