Representatives from Ketza Construction and Yukon University announce the opening of Ketza Construction Carpentry Shop on March 29. From left to right: Joe Densmore, Ernie Prokopchuk, Maggie Matear, Jeff Wolosewich, Peter Densmore. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

Representatives from Ketza Construction and Yukon University announce the opening of Ketza Construction Carpentry Shop on March 29. From left to right: Joe Densmore, Ernie Prokopchuk, Maggie Matear, Jeff Wolosewich, Peter Densmore. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

Ketza Construction donates $250,000 to Yukon University

Yukon University’s carpentry training space has been renamed the Ketza Construction Carpentry Shop

Ketza Construction Corporation announced a $250,000 donation to Yukon University this week in support of carpentry programming.

“Today is about ensuring that, for the next 10 years and beyond, Yukoners continue to have a carpentry training program readily available to them right here at home,” said Joe Densmore, part-owner of Ketza, at a press conference on March 29.

“Education and training are an important part of ensuring Yukoners have reliable, well-paying jobs, and that local companies have an accessible labor force to continue to grow.”

Yukon University’s carpentry training space has been renamed the Ketza Construction Carpentry Shop in honour of the donation.

It is the university’s first educational space named for a donor. Maggie Matear, the university’s interim president, told press conference attendees that the university hopes to engage in more partnerships with private industry.

“We hope this is going to become a model for industry and community engagement with university programming and priorities; we want to be part of business priorities, as well,” Matear said.

Growing the university’s trades programming is an important aspect of establishing the university’s hybrid model, with priorities in both trades and academics, Matear explained.

“Trades skills training has always been a key part of this institution,” she said. “Our graduates and apprentices have literally built this territory — roads, homes, iconic buildings, electrical wiring, plumbing and heating systems have been crafted by men and women who began their careers here.”

Yukon University’s apprenticeship training has expanded in the last decade to include carpentry, electrical, welding, heavy equipment technician, pipe trades, and mine operation training, she continued.

The university also has a mobile trades trailer that has provided training to Yukon communities.

“Ketza Construction’s donation highlights their commitment to investing in Yukon and hiring local skilled tradespeople, as well as the importance of trades training to all communities across Yukon,” Matear said.

Peter Densmore, Ketza president and founder, lauded the benefit of encouraging trades education in the Yukon.

“We need to build capacity and the best facilities possible to encourage kids to come into the trades,” Densmore said. “(I) hope that we can really grow this facility.”

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

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