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Two men lean over a piece of drywall, taking measurements.

Sydney Smoot, right, measures drywall while instructor Willie Simpson looks on during FTCC’s Property Maintenance Technician program on Dec. 7, 2021. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Property Maintenance Technician course has been two years in the making.

“It started as a discussion about if there was a need for apartment maintenance instruction,” FTCC’s Director of Customized & Industry Training Greg Moore said. “That’s what we were still calling it then — apartment maintenance.”

Moore and his department used input from the Greater Fayetteville Apartment Association and from W.S. Wellons Realty to develop the curriculum for a seven-week, 280-hour program to make its students career-ready in the property maintenance industry or serve as an introduction to a number of construction building trades.

“We really wanted the course to give an overview of what any property maintenance would need,” Moore said.

The course is designed to introduce the fundamental elements of construction and maintenance, ranging from electrical and HVAC basics to plumbing, carpentry, drywall, appliance repair and painting. Students who complete the course earn EPA Refrigerant Recovery/Recycling, OHSA 10 Construction and Certified Pool Operator certificates.

A man sands mud seams on drywall.

Brandon McRae sands seams on drywall during FTCC’s Property Maintenance Technician program on Dec. 7, 2021. [Photo by Brad Losh]

The course features lessons from several third-party instructors, utilizing experts with decades of experience in the trades.

After two years of planning, including an interruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, FTCC’s first offering of the Property Technician Maintenance course started Oct. 25 and will wrap with a ceremony for the first class Dec. 15.

The cost of the course was paid for using GEER scholarships, part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund established during the pandemic.

Sydney Smoot will be among those recognized for completing the course, having earned all three certifications.

Smoot, a 30-year-old Spring Lake resident, had experience working in construction as a teenager and had been working as a groundskeeper for rental properties when he decided he wanted to get organized training to become a maintenance technician.

“I called Fayetteville Tech to see if they offered this program, and they said not yet but it was coming mid-Fall,” Smoot said. “This class has covered pretty much everything and given me hands-on experience.”

Students can put their lessons into action using real-world items, like appliances donated from local businesses, and in some cases, working inside of a small section of a mock house inside FTCC’s Center for Business and Industry.

A man holds a board in place while a woman uses a drill to attach a screw to the board.

Instructor Willie Simpson holds a piece of drywall in place while Rechel Jones drives in a screw during FTCC’s Property Maintenance Technician program on Dec. 7, 2021. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Rechel Jones took the course with an eye toward becoming a general contractor, making a new career start after spending 28 years as the primary caregiver for her daughter with special needs.

“I’ve always been interested in construction and my long-term goal is to become a general contractor,” said Jones, a 51-year-old Fayetteville resident. “This is my doorway into that.”

Moore said the class, with its broad overview of the construction trades, can serve as a jumping off point for students interested in a specific trade, like electrical or plumbing work, or for more expansive work in general contracting.

“Whether you want to be a general contractor or specialize in electrical or maybe one or two students will start their path working for a property management company,” Moore said, “each of these subjects covered in the class can open up an opportunity.”

For more information about FTCC’s Corporate and Continuing Education programs, visit this webpage.