KLAMATH FALLS — Klamath Community College celebrated the construction kickoff of KCC’s new Apprenticeship Center with a groundbreaking ceremony today at the KCC campus.
The 32,000-square-foot Apprenticeship Center is slated to be open and ready to serve students in fall 2022. “The workforce education opportunities provided in the Apprenticeship Center will improve the local economic outlook and attract businesses that pay middle-class salaries. Working together with our community partners, we are sowing seeds for a healthy local economy and good quality of life in the Klamath Basin,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez.
The Apprenticeship Center will span four acres and will: provide space for hands-on training and pre-apprenticeship programs for transitioning high schoolers, increase the college’s career-technical program offerings, and offer specialized structural and wildland fire science training.
“This historic groundbreaking is a long-term investment in the future of Klamath County and the future of Klamath County economics. As we continue to move the momentum forward, we will see Klamath Falls prosper,” said Randy Cox, chief executive officer of the Klamath County Economic Development Association.
Apprenticeships that will be offered in the center include: electrical, millwright, plumbing, pipe fitter, machinist, carpentry, cement mason, drywall, interior and exterior painter specialist, and sheet metal fabrication, including HVAC. Students enrolled in fire sciences and emergency medical operations programs through an Apprenticeship Center fire academy will gain real-world experience training in an exterior fire yard and fire tower.
“The Apprenticeship Center will be a service to all of Southern Oregon, Lake County, and Northern California. The success stories that are going to come out of this building are going to be phenomenal,” said Kenneth DeCrans, chair of the KCC Board of Trustees.
Once complete, the project will help up skill the region’s workforce by providing a pipeline of skilled workers, which will bolster workforce development, create jobs, attract private investment, and strengthen the regional economy.
“The Apprenticeship Center is probably one of the most important things we have in Klamath County for our forward growth and our stability in the future,” said KCC Foundation member and community leader Jean Pinniger.
Apprenticeship Center construction is funded by a $3 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, a commitment of $3.9 million from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, grants from a number of regional foundations, private contributions, and an institutional obligation of resources by the KCC Board of Education.
Steve Tippin, chair of the KCC Foundation, said in 2022 the KCC Foundation will launch a capital campaign to raise funds to fill the center with equipment and technology that will allow instructors and partners to provide state-of-the-art programming for students enrolled in Apprenticeship Center courses.
“Our fundraising must continue to fully outfit the center with the tools and technology that will help our students be successful in the workforce,” Tippin said. “I know this community will step forward and help us finish this project.