Caltrans and California State University Long Beach (CSULB) are introducing a Joint Training and Certification Program (JTCP) to give participants the tools to increase quality and reduce delays on construction projects throughout the state.
Supported by a $1.3 million grant from Caltrans, the program will deliver training and certification for materials testing technicians in the specialties of Hot-Mix Asphalt, Soils and Aggregates and Portland Cement Concrete.
Eight construction trade associations proposed creation of the program in a 2014 letter to State Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly. Overseen by Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration, academia and industry, the program is designed for all technicians involved in the transportation construction industry throughout California.
Administered by CSULB, the program will offer in-person classes at its campus and San Jose State University beginning in December.
Given an expected influx of transportation funding coming from the new transportation bill (SB 1), these projects will need trained technicians at the ready to ensure the quality control of materials being used, the university says in a news release.
Gov. Jerry Brown in April signed the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, which is expected to generate $52.4 billion over 10 years for transportation needs. The law increases the state’s gas excise tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel excise tax by 20 cents a gallon and the diesel sales tax by 5.75 percent.
Money also will come from a new fee based on a vehicle’s worth and a $100 annual fee on zero-emission vehicles. A constitutional amendment in the bill would require the money to be spent on transportation. The tax increases go into effect Nov. 1.
“Caltrans is very excited about the partnership we have cultivated between Cal State Long Beach, our private industry partners and local agencies through this effort,” said Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty. “With the recent passage of the new transportation bill, a trained workforce is vital to ensure statewide consistency in materials quality. This training program will benefit both our contracting partners and public agencies.”
“We are delighted to be working with Caltrans Materials Engineering and Testing Services to provide those in the construction paving industry with the knowledge and skills they need to create quality infrastructure throughout the state,” said principal investigator Shadi Saadeh, an associate professor in civil engineering at CSULB.
“This partnership is a great step in addressing the needs of state and industry in fixing and upgrading the state transportation infrastructure,” added Hamid Rahai, associate dean for research and graduate programs in CSULB’s College of Engineering.
Technicians earn certification by taking a prerequisite test in one area of specialization, followed by in-person class, laboratory and written/practical examination sessions. Caltrans, local agency and contractor personnel attend the same classes, work together and receive equivalent training and certification.
This practice fosters respect within the industry, while generating increased consistency. The JTCP also enables individuals and agencies to verify progress and certifications held by other individuals.
“This type of certification program has been proven in other states to improve competence of materials technicians, which reduces test variability and disruption on public works projects,” said Russell W. Snyder, executive director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. “Our industry is pleased to partner with Caltrans on this innovative and transparent program designed to hold both industry and agency technicians accountable to meeting the latest standards of excellence.”
For more information or to begin training, visit the Joint Training and Certification Program website.