From time to time, we’d like to spotlight some of the training facilities, community colleges and high school career tech classes across the state that are offering great training for those interested in the skilled trades. We’re starting off today with the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama, otherwise known as CEFA.
What is CEFA: In 2000, three industry trade associations, Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, Alabama Associated General Contractors and the Alabama Concrete Industries Association, joined forces to consolidate each of their training programs into one. If you add the years that the separate associations provided training to the number of years CEFA has been offering training in the skilled trades, you’ll see that Alabamians have had the opportunity to receive training in the construction industry for over 35 years.
Who is eligible to train with CEFA? Any person who wants to learn a trade is welcome to apply. CEFA has students (men and women) from all walks of life who are between the ages of 18 and 56. A high school diploma or GED is preferred, but not required.
- Employers: CEFA tries to match students with an employer who will cover some of the cost of training, so the student can have a job and “earn while you learn.”
- CEFA Scholarship Program: CEFA offers scholarships that cover a percentage of the tuition. Applicants seeking a scholarship must submit an essay (500-700) words on why he or she needs the scholarship.
- Tuition: If a student is paying his or her own way, CEFA offers a payment plan and does not charge interest.
- Government funded tuition: If a student meets certain eligibility requirements, he or she may qualify for government grant funds to pay tuition.
- Grant funded Training: CEFA has several special programs that are funded by grants from a variety of sources: ALDOT, Jefferson County Office of Workforce Development and ADECA.
Job Placement: “EARN while You Learn” – CEFA does not promise any student employment. They actively engage in providing employment references to area contractors after a student completes 30 weeks of a 56 or 92-week training program. They do not wait until the end of training because they want students in the workforce as soon as possible.
Drug Testing: CEFA does not drug test new students, however, they remind students that in order to get a job in the construction industry, a drug test is required by employers. In addition, effective November 2014, all students will be subject to drug testing prior to referral for employment.
How to get started at CEFA: Applications are taken daily at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. If you are working or simply need to come at a different time, call and arrange a special time to meet with a staff person. All applicants must complete a Training Application and take a basic math test. The test is not pass or fail; it just lets the staff and the potential student know if participation in math refresher classes is recommended. CEFA provides math refresher classes at no cost on a weekly basis. Participation in the math refresher is not required, but is very helpful in getting a student ready for trade math in any class.
Certification: CEFA uses the nationally recognized Contren Curriculum endorsed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, NCCER. This means the training is recognized by the industry across the U.S. and students can start training in one place, move, and continue training in another area of the country. The courses are delivered in levels of training, with each level being comprised of about 160 hours. All Level 1 classes start with the basics and include an OSHA 10 class. Each level of training builds on the prior level. Students receive a certificate, a transcript and a wallet card each time they complete a level of training. All programs allow a student to earn a certification based on the level of training completed. If a student has prior training in a trade CEFA provides testing to determine which class the student should begin in.
Where to train: At any given time CEFA has between 120 and 150 students in training classes. Ninety percent of the students train in Birmingham, with the remainder training in classes in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Decatur and Anniston.
Training Offered: Training is offered in the following trades: Carpentry, Electrical, HVAC, Pipefitting, Plumbing, Sheet Metal, Welding and Ironworking. Ironworking is new to the CEFA training program. They generally have at least one, if not two, trade classes starting each quarter.
Training in the construction industry is a great way to begin your career. Let CEFA help you find a skilled trade that you can excel in and develop a strong career that will help you build your future. #LearnASkill #MasterATrade
To learn more about CEFA, or to apply and begin your career in construction, visit their website: www.CEFAtraining.com.