2002-03-16 / Columnists

The RDRC Community Update

By Curtis Archer, Executive Director

By Curtis Archer, Executive Director

On Friday, March 1, 2002, Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) and Congressman Gregory W. Meeks hosted a breakfast for community leaders in order to announce a new initiative aimed at Rockaway residents.

The constructors of the International Arrivals Terminal Building (Terminal 4) at JFK International Airport, the JFKIAT/AMEC Alliance Team, in a partnership with RDRC are instituting a training program for "construction cost estimators."

Connie DeLaigle, Senior Minority Business Developer, who was at the breakfast stated that "the program is designed to fulfill the needs of the construction industry and the local community by providing an introduction to the construction industry for local residents who may otherwise find it difficult to be adequately prepared for entry-level positions". In addition, she stated "it is hoped that the program will be a resource to the construction industry for candidates for entry-level estimator positions, or entry-level positions requiring familiarity with estimating."

At the breakfast, Curtis Archer, Executive Director of RDRC and DeLaigle said the program consists of recruitment, pre-qualification and training of local residents. Outreach to the construction industry will be conducted for recruitment of candidates into entry-level positions. They also noted that the program is being fully funded by in-kind contributions procured from contractors performing work on the JFKIAT/AMEC project. Contractors are eligible to be recognized as having made a "good faith" effort by contributing to the program costs.

As I mentioned earlier, the program is being fully funded by the construction trades industry and contractors working on the JFKIAT/AMEC project. It was the JFKIAT/AMEC Alliance Team that targeted estimating, as a skill required at all levels of the construction industry, and a logical focus for a training program. According to Construction Experts, Inc., a construction consultant and training firm in California, "the construction industry has now embarked on a time where the training of new and experienced construction individuals is unavoidable due to: 1) labor shortage; 2) an influx of many new construction projects; 3) higher demands for quality, productivity, and timely completion and 4) more complex technology being utilized in both materials and construction techniques."

With more than 12 years experience in training and job placement, RDRC became the logical choice to coordinate the cost estimator program and a natural extension of our present mission. RDRC will recruit candidates with a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, along with pre-qualification screening and testing. Its facility at 1920 Mott Avenue has classroom space available for a course of this size.

Right now the course is structured as a 4-week (it may change) program, with classes on Saturday from 8:30am to 12:00pm. Course size will be limited to fifteen (15) participants per cycle. Six cycles are planned for the first year.

Bernie Monahan, an AMEC employee and cost estimator himself, will be the course instructor. Monahan, who grew up in the Rockaways, gave a brief overview of the planned curriculum. Monahan stated that the Estimating course would begin with blueprint reading and expand to teaching a basic understanding of quantity take-offs and pricing. He noted that blueprint reading is a fundamental of the entire construction industry. Project documents, from project start to project completion will be reviewed. These fundamentals will be reviewed for many, if not most, of the typical commercial construction trades. This will include direct and indirect costs, and estimate line items for surety bonding, insurance, overhead, general conditions and profit. Finally, an overview of requisition (payment) documents and change order estimating will be presented.

The JFKIAT/AMEC Alliance Team has committed to sponsoring the program for a year. After 10 months of operation, the program will be evaluated for its progress, and, if successful, recommended for continued support beyond the one-year commitment. In addition, JFKIAT/AMEC has also committed to hiring one of the participants who completes the course, for entry-level position. And, as was noted by DeLaigle, "JFKIAT/AMEC looks to participate fully in the "full circle" nature of the program by sponsoring training and hiring."

With the first registration date (Saturday, March 9, 2002) in the history books, the second registration date for the first cycle of the program is Saturday, March 16th from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon in the offices of RDRC, which is located at 1920 Mott Avenue on the second floor. Classes are set to begin on Saturday, March 23, 2002.

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