Starla Steward, an El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) Adult Education graduate, is continuing her journey with EDCOE through the Northern California Construction Training (NCCT) program.
The NCCT is a building trade’s pre-apprenticeship training program that helps prepare men and women for entry into various construction trades apprenticeship training programs. The El Dorado County NCCT program, which opened this Summer, provides test preparation such as math basics and how to read blueprints as well as hands-on building experience.
Starla, recognizing the opportunity that Adult Education and the NCCT program were providing, challenged herself to be part of the program as she is currently is the only woman in her class.
“I have three kids, 12-. 13-. and 15-years old.” Steward said, “It’s really important not only that I have a way to provide for them but that they see what learning and hard work can do for you.
“Our Adult Education programs prepare and empower our students to achieve their educational, career, and personal goals - whether it is earning a high school diploma, a high school equivalency certificate (GED), or passing one of the hundreds of industry-approved certification programs at our Pearson Vue Testing Center,” notes Principal Gary Sutherland.
Steward’s days start when she arrives on the NCCT campus, located at 6187 Pleasant Valley Road, in the town of El Dorado, in full uniform, including boots, tool belt, and tools. Steward and her cohorts then spend some time in class preparing for a competency exam. Sometimes the class is held outside to also prepare students for the outdoor elements they will experience on the job. Next, Steward and her classmates spend time on a variety of hands-on building projects for the community. They are currently working on planter boxes for the on-site community garden.
Acknowledging the positive impact the NCCT program has had on the community, Raley’s grocery stores and the Sacramento King’s have agreed to donate funds for the beautification of the NCCT program campus.
While the NCCT program itself is an unpaid experience, Starla and other students upon completion have the opportunity to join the construction trades apprenticeship training program of his/her choosing, with wages that start anywhere from $14.00 to $23.00 per hour.
Steward says that it is worth it. “It’s hard being in school five days a week, especially with kids, but even though you struggle, you need to put one foot in front of the other. Everyone I know who has done this program is successfully employed. Knowing that and that I need to provide for my family, keeps me going.”
Starla Steward continues her journey with EDCOE through the Northern California Construction Training (NCCT) program.