Start your Construction Career at North Hennepin Community College

Are you searching for your next step after graduation? Is a four-year college plan or the military not of interest to you?

If you prefer working with your hands and your mind and want to earn a degree while getting paid to learn construction skills through an apprenticeship, North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) has plenty of opportunities for you.

“Minnesota high school educators, students and parents need to know that they no longer have to choose between an apprenticeship and a degree,” said Richard Krohn, NHCC construction instructor. “If they are looking for a hybrid model, they can pursue a construction degree at North Hennepin Community College with both in-class work and on-the-job training experience under a contractor for apprenticeship credit.”

The Construction Technology Degree was created to give students college credit for the work they complete in apprenticeship programs. The goal is to make construction training courses and credits count toward a two-year degree — to support a student’s aspirations to later earn a two-year or four-year degree in construction management.

Construction is more than a job — it’s a career. Poster available through  Construction Career Pathways “For Teachers” page.

This semester, Krohn teaches three construction management classes at North Hennepin Community College. All are virtual but Krohn said the classes are full and participants range in age from current construction professionals looking move into management positions to PSEO and high school students focused on becoming a journeyworker in the field while gaining a degree.

Training that Applies Across All Trades

“The best part about the degree program is it is trade generic, not trade specific,” Krohn said. “NHCC technical courses can be applied in most of Minnesota’s building trades and classwork at the college is complementary to the technical skills taught by training centers and hands-on learning in the field.”

Construction technology courses taught at NHCC are focused on general labor history, safety, construction technology, which allows all crafts professionals to gain a well-rounded background of the trades and Minnesota’s construction industry. The on-the-job training is where students get course specific and choose a contractor that works in their field such as carpentry, the operating engineers, or the pipe trades (sprinkler fitters, plumbers, and steamfitters among others.)

“We’ve created a program that’s consistent across the board and captures the first three years of every trades persons’ introductory knowledge and skills,” Krohn said. “Most apprenticeships last four-to-five years on average, so after completing the first three years of standard training apprentices will focus on training center exit and licensing exams for their selected trade.”

Each construction technology course earns four or five credits. In total, through the construction technology degree a student earns 27 credits toward a 60-credit, two-year degree at North Hennepin Community College.

“We have documentation(from the registered apprenticeship program) of their earned credits at this college and from there they can choose to pursue a career in construction, work toward a construction management two-year degree or save the credits to transfer to a university if they so desire,” Krohn said. “We’ve given students and their families a new peace of mind — they can earn college credit at a substantially reduced rate per credit and their on-the-job training experience doesn’t have to be approved on a per person basis — rather, on-the-job training is a facet of the program and students know it will be counted for credit for their education and apprenticeship training.”

Krohn added there’s a high demand for a variety of construction workers in the state of Minnesota, especially young people, women and people of color.

“Employers love this degree program because they can recruit people with field experience for management roles,” Krohn said. “Since apprenticeship is the primary credential in a competitive trades workforce this program is an added degree in your back pocket.”

For more information on North Hennepin Community College’s Construction Technology degree click here or contact Richard Krohn at richard.krohn@nhcc.edu.