How is the School of Skilled Trades better than other schools?

The School of Skilled Trades will have several advantages over its competition. Consistent with most community colleges, both Durham Tech and Wake Tech have poor graduation and retention rates according to the College Scorecard: Durham Tech graduates 12% of its students and retains only 55% after their first year; Wake Tech graduates 17% of its students and retains only 68% after their first year. The outcomes are poor, even when considering the transfers-out rate: 28% for Durham Tech and 30% for Wake Tech, according to The School of Skilled Trades will dedicate resources to assisting students with remaining in school and achieving graduation. As the School works toward accreditation, it will need to maintain graduation and retention rates that exceed those of these two competitors.

The Durham and Chapel Hill areas are devoid of a plumbing school, so the School will fill that need in our community. The plumbing certificate courses offered by Wake Tech are found only at its Southern Wake Campus, south of Raleigh and more than a 40-minute drive from downtown Durham. That distance combined with the fact that Durham Tech only offers a plumbing course (not a program), the School will fill a void in its geography that will assist our community and increase the likelihood of our graduates finding entry-level positions following graduation.

We also have an advantage given that our founders and instructors at the School of Skilled Trades are tenured, licensed plumbers who have run their own plumbing contractor business. They know not only the hard skills necessary for success, but the intangibles that allow employees to progress in their careers—timeliness, a solid work ethic, respect, communication skills. These soft skills will also be a part of the six-month curriculum and will prepare students to interview better, be more appealing to potential employers and to progress in their careers once hired. This type of individualized attention is difficult to find at large community colleges.