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This year, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education Superintendent Bob Weir is responding directly to the Verde Valley’s lack of skilled construction employees.

Following a successful fall 2016 discussion with construction industry representatives in Cottonwood, Weir met with 17 plumbing, insulation, plastering and drywall, glass and general contracting professionals on Jan. 31 at the Camp Verde Community Library to evaluate the Verde Valley’s industry needs and endorse VACTE’s certification programs as means to train future employees.


“Their major need is skilled employees — people who have the work ethic to see the job done right the first time,” Weir said. “[The representatives] all said, ‘I need more workers to be able to do more than just one job ....You teach them the skills and the work ethic, and we’ll teach our techniques.’”

According to Weir, the first step in getting people on board with VACTE is understanding what it is and is not. As a Joint Technical Education District, VACTE operates in concert with public and charter schools, private schools, home-schooled families and high school-aged individuals without a high school diploma to provide career and technical education programs, many of which culminate in industry-recognized certifications and college credit.

As a result of the input received from CTE-reliant employers in the Verde Valley, Weir has decided to move forward with hiring a construction technology instructor for VACTE. The job, which Weir said may become full time soon, has been posted to vacte.com.

The ideal candidate, he explained, will: Prioritize readiness and consistency in planning for each day’s instruction, making sure that students are prepared for demanding tasks as well as prioritize punctuality and teach the importance of respect for coworkers and clients, ensuring that each student understands that success is built on a foundation of trust between parties.

“This is a job site, and these are the things you need to do,” Weir said, adding that there are many misconceptions about construction work, including that the labor does not require an extensive list of skills. “There’s a consistent level of expectations.”

According to Weir, a student enrolled in the construction technology program is likely to end up with “very viable living” that starts at $15 to $20 per hour and, at the minimum, 40 hours of work per week. Furthermore, Weir said that construction is often a stepping stone to other careers and entrepreneurial opportunities, allowing students to pursue their own passions and goals. Weir said that he hopes to get 40 to 60 applicants.

“It’s exciting because this is something that’s been missing for a while in the Verde Valley,” Weir said. “The businesses in the community are desperate for workers.”

Weir said that he plans on holding a similar meeting with construction representatives in Sedona in the “next three or four weeks.”

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