More than 20 high school students from Cuero, Ganado, Calhoun and Victoria school districts will start Thursday. On Monday, 12 adults will start their journey at the academy, said Kristi Stevenson, Associated Builders and Contractors Texas Mid Coast Chapter president. The students will receive their hard hats, meet future employers and go through orientation.

“It’s finally, finally coming together. We are thrilled. We are so excited,” she said. The Crossroads needs this academy “because of the shortage of labor in the workforce in the construction industry. It also offers an opportunity for students that don’t want to go to college to earn really good wages.”

The academy is opening under the Associated Builders and Contractors Texas Mid Coast Chapter. It’s located at the former Victoria Electric Cooperative building, 102 S. Ben Jordan St., and offers pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships in plumbing and electrical trades.

“We’ve raised over $100,000,” Stevenson said. “We’re still fundraising. That’s the main thing we needed – enough to get off the ground – and now we’re going to be pushing to continue to be able to purchase (equipment).”

The academy will take four years to complete. When students finish, they will qualify to take the journey-level test. If they pass, they’ll be recognized as journey-level in their trades and be awarded their apprenticeship certificates.

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