SCDOT Partners with SCAPA for On-the-Job Training Apprenticeship

SCAPA partnered with the SC Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) Division of Minority and Small Business Affairs to coordinate an On-the-Job Training (OJT) apprenticeship program for SCDOT-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms. In light of SCDOT’s new project delivery plan, the agency felt it necessary to increase the available pool of minority- and women-owned businesses in the area of asphalt inspection.

Through the agency’s DBE federal supportive services program, the SCDOT Business Development Center (BDC) developed an initiative to assist DBE firms to obtain the certification needed to perform asphalt paving inspections on agency projects. The BDC offered the two-part "Pre-Highway Construction Inspector/Testing Technician Course for Asphalt Roadway" at Tri-County Technical College in November 2016 and December 2016. Twelve (12) DBE firms successfully completed part one of the course; however, part two required that participants complete a 4-week OJT with a certified contractor. Based on this, SCDOT asked SCAPA to partner in the coordination of the OJT with its contractor member companies.

SCAPA’s twelve (12) contractor members were each assigned one "apprentice" and assisted SCDOT with completing the OJT component for the pre-highway construction inspector certification. Apprentices were trained on several items to encompass establishing and monitoring roller patterns, monitoring ambient air and asphalt mix temperatures, calculating tack rate and mix application rate, mix placement, compaction, and density and control strips. Upon completion of the OJT, apprentices received their certification from Tri-County Technical College and can now begin doing asphalt inspection work.

Greg Davis, Division Director of Minority & Small Business Affairs shared his views on the SCDOT / SCAPA partnership:

Over the next ten years, the SCDOT anticipates spending over $1 billion annually in our state’s interstate, bridge and pavement programs. We are grateful for our partnership with SCAPA, which facilitated the paring of smaller firms with larger, experienced firms for on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs like this not only provide essential training for smaller firms but also allow larger firms to build a cadre of skilled subcontractors who are qualified to help them meet their goals and better position themselves to win portions of the massive amount of upcoming SCDOT work.

Eric Faulk, VP/Quality Control Manager with Palmetto Corporation stated:

In the 4 weeks we were able to spend with our DBE Apprentice, we were able to lay quite a bit of groundwork for what I feel will be a key factor in his/her understanding and future success as it relates to HMA Roadway and the many variables involved. From a contractor’s standpoint, troubleshooting problems or inefficiencies is one of the most valuable traits found in a Roadway Technician. That being said, our goal was to put him/her in a supervised environment and challenge him/her to think outside the box, pull from his/her knowledge of the specifications and ultimately manage multiple scenarios that were not so clearly and concisely written in his/her HMA Roadway Technician class notes. The focus was placed upon illustrating the big picture and hoping the apprentice would come away with not only a better understanding of how the specifications are applied but also the effort and (at times) the struggle it takes to fulfill those requirements. After completing the 4 weeks of training, I believe we confidently accomplished our objectives. SCDOT provided a clear outline and our apprentice successfully met the mark. Overall I was very pleased with the program. The opportunity to train someone we could possibly meet in the field is priceless and we would certainly do it again.

SCAPA looks forward to working with SCDOT on this and other projects in the future.