AACC builds Clauson Center for all trades


D'Angelo Williams

The Clauson Center opened in early January for students learning the trades.

Lilly Roser, Contributor

Trade students taking classes like welding and plumbing will meet in a new building on campus starting on the first day of the spring semester.

The college built the $5 million Clauson Center for Innovation and Skilled Trades with donations from the community, including a $1 million gift from longtime AACC supporters Janet and James Clauson.

Typically, the state and county chip in for the construction of new college buildings.

The first classes in the Clauson Center will be non-credit courses.

The building contains four laboratories where students will take welding, apartment maintenance tech, forklift, HVAC-R, plumbing, sprinkler fitter, electrical, low voltage tech, and finish and framing carpentry classes.

“We found that there is a significant shortage of employees for professions or companies who seek to hire skilled trades employees,” said Vollie Melson, the executive director of the AACC Foundation, which raises money for college needs. “And the Clauson Center was developed to be able to address this need.”

Students who take pre-apprenticeship programs will learn entry-level skills they need for jobs in the trades, Melson said.

The college will help those students find jobs, MaryLou McQuaide, AACC’s director of apprenticeship and applied learning, said.

“And then those industry partners will then turn around and sponsor the students through their next apprenticeship training, which is where they would get a state credential to be able to perform work on-site,” McQuaide said.

First-year electrical student Gabriel Scobey said the building “gives the opportunity for many people like me to … get onto a path of life that I am happier doing.”