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This content was published: March 17, 2014. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PCC helps Constructing Hope encourage at-risk individuals to pursue lucrative careers in construction

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Constructing Hope students ask JE Dunn Project Manager, Eric Manus their burning questions about life on the construction site.

March 17, 2014
Written by Amy Mintonye

PCC’s under-construction Swan Island Center at 6400 N. Cutter Circle is already inspiring people to pursue careers in the trades!

On March 11th, PCC and general contractor for the Swan Island site JE Dunn invited Constructing Hope to tour the site and gain an insider’s perspective of the day-to-day construction operations.

Constructing Hope is a local organization that opens the doors of the construction industry to low-income people and those with troubled pasts by offering pre-apprenticeship programs and educational training, empowering these individuals to rebuild their lives and become productive, self-sufficient members of the community.


JE Dunn workers take a moment to explain the building plans to Constructing Hope students.

JE Dunn’s Project Manager Eric Manus and Superintendent Jeff Reynolds led the group through the site, highlighting safety measures, explaining how communication flows between the 34 different contractors on the job, and pointing out specific challenges the construction team has faced so far during renovation and expansion of the property.


Eric Manus leads the Constructing Hope students through the interior of the under construction Swan Island Center.

Students showed interested in green building practices and the role of new technology in the construction industry.

Eric and Jeff also shared their personal stories of their first construction jobs and their paths from laborer to management. “You’ve got to do your time digging in the ditch before you get to drive the excavator,” Jeff explains. “It takes hard work and focus to succeed.”

Constructing Hope pre-apprentices that graduate at a high level can have direct entry into the carpenters’, plumber’s, or labor  union. Pre-apprentices that do not qualify for direct union entry will be many steps closer to launching their career thanks to Constructing Hope’s training in OSHA, forklift, scissor lift, flagging and CPR.

When completed, the Swan Island site will house trade technology programs, featuring 23,000 square feet of classrooms and lab space for Facilities Maintenance Technology, HVAC-R Electrical Trades Apprenticeship, and Fiber Optics programs. In addition, the center will provide other project management skills training opportunities for area businesses.

Learn more about the Bond Program improvements planned for Swan Island.

PCC’S 2008 voter-approved $374 million bond program is increasing opportunities for residents to access quality, affordable higher education close to where they live and work. Additional classrooms, updated equipment and technology, and advanced workforce training programs are helping to pave the way for future employment options. For more information, visit www.pcc.edu/about/bond/about