ge-johnson-handymanThe GE Johnson Construction Company Community Foundation has donated $250,000 to Pikes Peak Community College and the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges, according to a recent news release.

The gift is aimed at helping PPCC — which will receive $170,000 — develop a “degree and certificate program” and provide scholarships in building and construction technology, according to the release. The remaining $80,000 will support programs and create scholarships at rural community colleges (under the umbrella of the FCCC) throughout Colorado.

“Workforce development, specifically the availability of a skilled trades associate degree like the one that will be available as a result of this commitment, is key for the success of the construction industry,” GE Johnson CEO Jim Johnson said in the release. “This partnership with the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges and the Pikes Peak Community College Foundation, most importantly, supports the community college network and the construction industry through skilled trades scholarships for the Pikes Peak Region and rural community colleges.”

In the release, PPCC cited a “severe shortage of skilled workers” and the fact that regional homebuilding is at a 10-year high. The GE Johnson gift is part of a larger campaign to raise $1 million for new scholarships that will help to grow and educate a larger population of future skilled workers for the local construction industry, which has seen a 9-percent increase in the number of jobs available from 2015 to 2016, according to the release.

Eight rural colleges will receive $10,000 each: Colorado Northwestern Community College, Lamar Community College, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pueblo Community College and Trinidad State Community College.

According to the release, the gift will be matched by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative and create an estimated total impact of $580,000.

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“Jim Johnson is a great steward of the future,” Renee Zentz, CEO of the Colorado Springs Housing & Building Association, said in the release. “This donation will not only address an immediate need for a skilled workforce, but will also give many students, traditional and non-traditional, the opportunity for a rewarding career in the field of construction.”