The region’s new Construction Center project, led by Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) on its Petaluma campus, is one step closer to being fully funded thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
The new center is expected to break ground in January 2022 and to be completed by January 2023. One of the objectives is to train hundreds of construction and trades workers annually at the facility in order to assist with ongoing county-wide wildfire recovery and rebuild efforts. The job skills gap in the construction trades, as well as an existing lack of affordable housing prior to the wildfires, has had a direct impact on economic growth and is a contributing factor to the North Bay’s severe lack of housing inventory.
In 2020, SRJC secured a $7.12 million federal disaster grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) and a $1 million match from Tipping Point with Sonoma County Economic Development Board to construct the Construction Center. Due to the rising costs associated with construction, SRJC will file an amendment with the EDA to request approximately $2.5 million in additional funding. The amendment requires a proportional local match of 10 percent for these additional dollars. This grant from Bank of America has come at a pivotal time and will have an enormous impact as it allows the project to move forward and meet the amendment requirements.
“With Bank of America’s support, we aren’t just building a new center to teach students the construction trades. We are building desperately needed affordable housing, creating pathways to living-wage careers, and investing in a community continually devastated by wildfires,” Frank Chong, SRJC Superintendent/President, said.
The SRJC Construction Center will support multiple certificate and associate degree programs, including HVAC and refrigeration as well as an introduction to residential and commercial construction, which will include traditional stick build and newer prefabrication technologies. The Construction Center will be outfitted with trainers, tools, and equipment that will prepare students not only for the hands-on skills they need to secure employment, but also the soft skills needed to rise up in their future jobs. Students will be connected to pathways for further training and local employers.
Catherine Williams, faculty project lead, added, “By investing in the long-term infrastructure and capital project of the Construction Center, Bank of America’s grant will help us provide high-quality training for students entering the construction industry and meet local employer demand for workers.”
“Bank of America invests into workforce development, job reskilling, and career placement programs as a way to create pathways for economic success that are sustainable over time, especially for underserved communities,” said Jason Foster, Bank of America North Bay president. “Santa Rosa Junior College’s new Construction Center will be pivotal to the North Bay’s residential housing supply and economic recovery given the tremendous need for new construction, created by the region’s wildfires and prolonged pandemic, as well as a shortage of local construction trade workers. We’re proud that this funding helps SRJC access the remaining capital necessary to complete the project.”
“We are beyond grateful for this investment by Bank of America. It enables the project to move forward and recognizes the pivotal role of SRJC in our community for students and employers,” J Mullineaux, Executive Director of the SRJC Foundation, said.
The SRJC Foundation is offering naming opportunities and actively pursuing matching funds from other major donors for an endowment to provide perpetual support for the Construction Center.
For more information about the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation and ways to support the Construction Center, visit foundation.santarosa.edu or contact Executive Director J Mullineaux at 707-527-4797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.