News & Events




Press Release



April 7 , 2016


Cowley College partners with four companies to address construction industry needs


STEPCowley College has partnered with Builder Plus Construction, Conco Construction, Dondlinger Construction and Drywall Systems in an enterprising and collaborative effort to address construction industry needs and provide local employment opportunities.

While educational and industry partnerships are not unusual, the Skilled Trades Entry Program (STEP) is distinctly unique. Stephani Johns-Hines, Cowley College associate vice president of business and industry advancement, said that the program reflects a level of industry commitment that is inspiring.

“These companies are setting aside the competitive nature of their business and coming to the table in the spirit of helping the industry and local employment base as whole. Partnering with them is an honor,” Johns-Hines said.

The four companies have committed to providing all training and training materials over a period of 16 weeks, in a one month rotation with each company. Trainees will gain industry recognized certification while being paid an hourly wage.

“In initiating STEP (Skilled Trade Entry Program), we believe we have created an unprecedented entry to our industry,” said Chris Callen, Chief Executive Officer of Builders Plus Construction. “Not only are we offering fantastic training, but one month’s exposure to four seriously awesome companies, and we’re picking up the tab.”

The program will use industry recognized NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) curriculum. Those completing the program will attain the Core Curriculum certification and the Construction Craft Laborer certification.

“This partnership has created a rather unique opportunity for trainees to gain valuable experience and instruction while earning a decent wage,” Cowley College vice president of academic affairs Dr. Harold Arnett said. “The skills acquired will provide a lifetime of employment opportunity in an almost unlimited variety of geographic locations.”

Interested applicants can obtain more information at:

“These are not trades or jobs where workers will soon be replaced by autotrons or robots or anything similar,” Dr. Arnett said. “Plus, there is an added benefit of being in a career that gives tangible results. At the end of a project, there is a structure that previously did not exist. As long as it stands, you can drive by, point to it and say, “I helped do that.”

For more information please contact Beverly Frank, Cowley College Career and Technical Education Department secretary, at 620-441-5279 or