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Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) recently collaborated to offer the Texas Construction Career Academy for 15 students interested in a career in the highway construction industry.

Hosted by the PVAMU Office of Continuing Education, the multi-week program was designed to help prepare participants for work in the industry. TEEX provided training in skid steer operation and traffic flagging procedures for work zones. Participants also received an introduction to geographical information systems (GIS). TEEX also provided training in OSHA construction standards, which qualified the participants to receive an OSHA 10-hour card.

PVAMU spearheaded the project and provided participants with training about job applications and interviewing skills, as well as personal finance. Most sessions were held at the PVAMU Northwest Houston Center. Hands-on skid steer training was conducted at the TEEX Infrastructure Training & Safety heavy equipment training field on the Texas A&M Riverside Campus.

The Construction Career Academy was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 55.

Phil Barnes, Training Manager for the Transportation and Heavy Equipment Program of ITSI, said the instructors found that all participants had an outstanding attitude and were very excited about learning new skills. Several participants commented that they were very thankful for this opportunity to move toward better employment.

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