MCAA Education and Certification Update

Words: Dan KamysSeptember 2009 Education & Certifications

The current economy can be a good reason to cut your education and training initiatives. However, the current economy also can be a great opportunity to fine-tune some educational needs and devote extra time toward accomplishing national certification. The MCAA certification program was developed, in part, to increase the opportunities for contractors to expand their knowledge base and, as a result, become more effective and profitable. In the last year, since the certification program was officially kicked off, the MCAA has approved 263 courses for future credit for mason contractors. The MCAA has added a tremendous amount of access to online courses – 103 programs – and anticipates adding more courses in 2009-2010. In addition to adding these courses to the mix, the MCAA has partnered with Hanley Wood to offer a diverse and plentiful supply of courses at the World of Masonry, held in Las Vegas every year.

Last February, the MCAA and Hanley Wood created a new opportunity at World of Masonry: a hands-on demonstration area that gave attendees credit for attending these programs on the show floor. The goal of the MCAA during the next two years will be to double the number of offerings to contractors. Reaching out to areas of the country that could not otherwise be serviced through traditional classroom settings will be a primary goal. When a breakdown of the courses offered during the last year is analyzed, the discipline within certification that realized the most class offerings was safety. The safety offerings nearly doubled the next-closest discipline by the number of offerings. I believe this is indicative of our industry and the trends we are seeing within safety.

The MCAA now has certified nine contractors in about a one-year time frame. Most encouraging, there are more than 50 contractors currently registered and pursuing their certification statuses. We are confident that as the economy continues to rebound, we will see these numbers grow.

MCAA certified mason contractor Buddie Barnes from Dee Brown Inc. recently had this to say about why his company chose to become certified: “I have always felt that you lead by example, and you cannot ask other people to do something that you have not done or are unwilling to do. I know that it will not happen until sometime in the future, but when we do have enough contractors with a national certification, then the architects and owners will begin to require that the mason contractors on their projects have our industry certification. We all need to remember that you must crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. So give the program some time, and you will see its effectiveness.”

Another trend the MCAA has identified is that of state governments looking to institute laws that would require training of some type for sub-contractors and, in particular, mason contractors. Two states, Texas and Virginia, have floated proposals that would, in effect, require licensing/certifying mason contractors. The MCAA is concerned about any imposed state requirements that are developed without or not by industry. The Texas original proposal had a state board that would have created a program with very little mason contractor input. The MCAA would be opposed to such regulation. The MCAA would be open to discuss a program with these states that would utilize an industry-developed program such as our certification program, if the contractors from the area were supportive.

The MCAA is extremely excited about the future educational opportunities that will be available to our industry in the upcoming years. The collective approach to reach out to all contractors and work to make each and every contractor a better business person will only raise the collective quality of contractors in the industry. It is our goal to raise the bar and see a significant increase in the quality of work produced throughout the country.

  • 8 courses are offered in the Bidding Practices discipline
  • 23 courses are offered in the Codes and Standards discipline
  • 56 courses are offered in the Ethics and Business Practices discipline
  • 35 courses are offered in the Masonry Products discipline
  • 106 courses are offered in the Safety discipline
  • 34 courses are offered in the General discipline
  • 1 course is offered in the Masonry Quality Institute discipline.

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