Melwood Participants Hone Construction Skills, Build a More Inclusive Workforce Thanks to CSM Partnership

August 26, 2022
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College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Welding Instructor Cliff Hartsfield, second from right, teaches welding to the third Melwood cohort to move through the program. “These students are some of the most amazing students I have ever taught,” shares Hartsfield.

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is partnering with Melwood to leverage the untapped potential and talent of people with differing abilities – creating opportunities for them to have meaningful employment, and helping to build a more inclusive workforce in the trade industry where demand for workers is high.   

Melwood’s Building Paths is a program designed to prepare people with differing abilities to enter the construction and skilled trades field after completing a 14-week program offered both online and in-person at CSM’s Hughesville Campus at the Center for Trades and Energy Training. This year, Melwood enrolled its third cohort into CSM's Construction Core Lab classes where students learned construction trade application skills and received construction pre-apprenticeship credentialing. 

 “We have partnered with the College of Southern Maryland to open up a new career field for people with disabilities, and to be able to teach labor unions, employees and employers on how people with disabilities can be included and to show [those employers] the incredible job that they can do,” shared Melwood President and CEO Larysa Kautz.

“We are thrilled to work with Melwood participants in this Building Path because this is exactly what CSM is here to do in our communities,” said CSM Associate Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development Ellen Flowers-Fields. “We partner. We connect the dots between our students, employees and employers by providing highly specialized training. And we do that by providing a variety of certifications, micro-credentials, and digital badges that align with desired competencies not only to develop or improve our students’ skills, but to also help build our workforce.”

Along with learning a trade, the Building Path participants learn soft skills, such as networking, teamwork, workplace conflict resolution, interview preparation, financial literacy and time management.

Hear about the win-win of the Building Paths program from the Melwood leadership and participant Donald Harris in the video below:

CSM plays a significant role in shaping the local economy by educating and training the future workforce and enriching the lives of Southern Maryland residents. 

The 30,000-square-foot Center for Trades and Energy Training (CT Building), the first building on the Regional Hughesville Campus, provides residents direct access to specialized training in career fields that have substantial growth potential.

Along with construction and skilled trades, CSM offers 15 other distinct areas of study – including agriculture, computers and IT, hospitality, legal, occupational safety and transportation – to help current students and employees gain the skills, knowledge, or certificates needed to begin or enhance their career. For more information, visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/workforce-training/index.html.

For more information about Melwood Building Paths, visit https://melwood.org/community-services/building-paths/

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