Restoration Recovery Technician program coming to Schoolcraft
BY ELAINE GEROU
As the world changes, education paths must too. To accommodate this, Schoolcraft College has been offering trade work options for students, such as welding, plastics and brewing. Now, Schoolcraft is working to bring a Restoration Recovery Technician program to students.
When there is a flood, tornado, hurricane, fire or just a mold issue, a restoration recovery technician is the first responder who manages the restoration project of the effected area.
“These are technicians that work with insurance companies, builders, remodelers, hazardous material management companies, electronics and computer companies. It’s not like they’re bailing out water from a flood. They’re the ones who will be organizing all that,” said Rob Leadley, Dean of Occupational Programs and Economic Development.
This job entails quickly deciding what needs to be done. Some of the responsibilities entail what materials can be saved, thrown out and brought in, as well as what equipment is needed, who can be hired to do certain jobs and how much the project will it cost.
“It’s [this field] growing by leaps and bounds. It’s about $4 billion spent every year,” said Glenn Cerny, Vice President andChief Financial Officer.
The demand for this type of work has steadily increased since the 1970s. Between 2000 and 2009, there were three times the number of natural disasters than those that occurred between 1980 and 1889 according to accuweather.com.
“There are statistics showing natural disasters are increasing, even in Southeastern Michigan,” said Leadley.
The projected job growth for this field is 20 to 30 percent within the next decade according to Schoolcraft’s research, which is almost unheard of in other career fields.
“I think it is a great idea to bring this program to Schoolcraft,” said Schoolcraft student Brittany Warren. “It will be very helpful in the future.”
Developing the program
The grant-based program is in the very first steps, which is applying for an Advance Technology Education Grant. According to Cerny, Schoolcraft should know by January whether the grant is received or not.
As of now, Leadley says it will be a two-semester certificate program.
The restoration industry experts reached out to Schoolcraft and will help build the curriculum to ensure the skillsets they need in the field will be covered.
Because recovery technicians need expertise in material science, hazardous materials and removal, understanding structures of buildings and computer technology and electronics, Leadley said, “It’s going to be a really broad certificate program with many different types of classes.”
There will most likely be class requirements before entering the program, such as English, math and chemistry due to technicians needing strengths in those areas.
“This is intense. You have to have really good people skills because you have to handle people in really intense environments and situations where it is very emotional,” said Leadley.
Technicians will have to talk to all community stakeholders and work with medical first responders who can sometimes get in the way and make the job more difficult. That is why psychology and interpersonal relations will be two of the courses required.
Once the grant is either approved or not, Schoolcraft will expand this program’s advisory board to have six to 12 representatives from different restoration companies to develop the specific curriculum. It s hoped that the program will be ready for students by September 2017.
“We’re hopefully building some opportunities for people that they just didn’t think of before,” said Leadley. “We’re trying to get people jobs that will get someone a liable living.”
Work in this field is needed across the globe so one could work under a company, such as the $1.4 billion Belfor, or start their own business, so for students who enjoy problem solving, helping others, organization, planning and can handle working in stressful situations, this could be a terrific career. The industry is calling, the jobs are open and Schoolcraft is housing the opportunity in the near future.