TUCSON – Twenty-seven members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe earned their certification to work as flaggers on tribal construction projects through a free Construction Academy sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
After completing a series of weekend courses, participants in the Pascua Yaqui Reservation Tribal Employment Rights Organization Construction Academy are now qualified to work on road projects on the reservation, located in the southwest Tucson area.
Fifteen participants will serve as flaggers for six months on road projects administered by the Tribal Employment Rights Organization, while the remaining 12 will work as general laborers. After six months, participants will switch roles.
“The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is expanding its horizons by offering increased opportunity for learning, particularly with our youth,” Tribal Chairman Robert Valencia said. “We are very interested in developing additional programs similar to the Construction Academy in the very near future and have very high expectations that the outcomes of this Academy will be successful.”
ADOT offers the Construction Academy Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program through its On-The-Job-Training Supportive Services Program, part of the agency’s Business Engagement and Compliance Office. All Construction Academy programs are designed to remove barriers to construction careers for women and minority individuals and to help participants move on to construction apprenticeships and eventually reach journeyman status, with ADOT continuing to provide support and guidance.
“Construction Academy programs benefit the transportation industry while they connect people with careers,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Our partnership with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe is one way we are providing this opportunity to more and more people around Arizona.”
Flagger certification is just one of the training opportunities available to women, minorities and members of economically disadvantaged groups, including those who are out of work, through these ADOT programs. Individuals also can receive training that will help them become concrete finishers, block masons, highway surveyors, heavy equipment operators and commercial drivers.
ADOT’s On-The-Job Training Supportive Services Program will receive $112,000 in funding from the Federal Highway Administration to continue offering workforce-development initiatives in the coming federal fiscal year, which begins in October.
In addition to training provided directly by ADOT, Construction Academy programs sponsored by ADOT also are offered through Gila Community College, Gateway Community College and, starting this fall, Pima Community College and Pima County Joint Technical Education School District.
ADOT covers training costs and fees for participants and provides support including transportation and child care assistance, job-readiness training and safety gear such as hard hats and protective eyewear.
For more information or to apply for a Construction Academy, please visit azdot.gov/BECO, call 602.712.7761 or pick up materials at the ADOT Business Engagement and Compliance Office, 1801 W. Jefferson St., Suite 101, in Phoenix.