trades center architectural rendering

Shown is an architectural design of River City Community Development Corp’s new Northeast N.C. Trades Training Center.

Construction is set to begin on a training facility that aims to provide area landscaping and plumbing companies a steady pool of qualified job applicants.

A.R. Chesson hopes to break ground in the next couple of weeks at the site of River City Community Development Corp.’s new Northeast N.C. Trades Training Center, said Joe Minoski, who is a field project manager for the construction firm.

Minoski said once construction begins, the goal is to have the center completed by the end of 2020.

“We hope to be done by Jan. 1,” he said. “So, it will be a fast-moving project.”

The center will provide job training in landscaping and plumbing for people ages 18 and older, said Lenora Jarvis-Mackey, president of River City CDC. The center will address the job needs of underemployed and underserved populations of Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, according to RCCDC’s grant proposal to the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The Foundation provided a $500,000 grant to cover the project’s start-up costs, which includes the cost of building construction.

The 3,000-square-foot building is being constructed on the site of the former Sonic Drive-In, in the 300 block of W. Ehringhaus Street. Sonic reopened in its current location in the 700 block of W. Ehringhaus Street in May 2014. Once finished, the training center will feature two large classrooms and office space.

Jarvis-Mackey said RCCDC staff must still develop class training curricula before students enroll next spring.

“We hope to begin training no later than February,” she said.

Jarvis-Mackey said RCCDC hopes to have no fewer than 15 students enroll in the initial set of classes.

Plumbing was chosen as a job-training program because that was one field River City CDC officials found to have a critical need for workers, Jarvis-Mackey said.

“That would be a discipline that would be well-needed in the area,” she said, of the feedback she heard.

Professional landscaping is another service that area residents often seek, and that demand is good for job-seekers. Yet, there is another upside to landscape training, as Jarvis-Mackey explained.

Landscaping is a field that is relatively easy for experienced workers to transition to a start-up business of their own, she said.

“It puts a lot of people to work quickly,” she said, of the training center’s potential.

Minoski agreed.

“There is such a need for trades right now,” he said. “This is a real positive thing that is going on. That’s why we wanted to support it.”

River City CDC is still seeking business sponsors and donations to help with the operational costs of the training facility once it’s up and running. In addition to A.R. Chesson, other businesses so far to sign on as sponsors include B&M Mechanical and F&H Print Sign Design.

For information on how to sponsor or to contribute, call 252-338-9171 or 252-621-5043.