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Career and Education Opportunities for Highway Maintenance Workers in Thornton, Colorado

Highway maintenance workers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Thornton, Colorado area. There are currently 2,730 working highway maintenance workers in Colorado; this should grow by 15% to about 3,150 working highway maintenance workers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for highway maintenance workers are expected to grow by about 8.5%. In general, highway maintenance workers maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way.

A person working as a highway maintenance worker can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $38,600 yearly on average in Colorado and about $16 per hour or $34,000 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for highway maintenance workers are better than earnings in the general category of Paving in Colorado and not quite as good as general Paving category earnings nationally.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Thornton area, including one within twenty-five miles of Thornton where you can get a degree to start your career as a highway maintenance worker. Highway maintenance workers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a highway maintenance worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Highway Maintenance Worker

Highway Maintenance Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, highway maintenance workers maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. They also duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences.

Highway maintenance workers set out signs and cones around work areas to divert traffic. They also flag motorists to warn them of obstacles or repair work ahead. Equally important, highway maintenance workers have to drive trucks to transport crews and apparatus to work sites. They are often called upon to clean and clear refuse from culverts and other drain structures. They are expected to drive trucks or tractors with adjustable attachments to sweep refuse from paved surfaces, mow grass and weeds, and remove snow and ice. Finally, highway maintenance workers perform roadside landscaping work, such as clearing weeds and brush, and planting and trimming trees.

Every day, highway maintenance workers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. It is also important that they maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for highway maintenance workers to inspect and repair drainage systems and other structures. They are often called upon to position and remove snow fences used to inhibit the accumulation of drifting snow on highways. They also apply poisons along roadsides and in animal burrows to remove unwanted roadside vegetation and rodents. They are sometimes expected to apply oil to road surfaces, using sprayers. Somewhat less frequently, highway maintenance workers are also expected to inspect markers to confirm accurate installation.

They also have to be able to measure and mark locations for placement of markers, using tape, string, or chalk and blend compounds to fashion adhesive mixtures used for marker installation. And finally, they sometimes have to paint traffic control lines and position pavement traffic messages, by hand or using machines.

Like many other jobs, highway maintenance workers must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Thornton include:

  • Black Top Paver Operator. Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways, or equipment used for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.
  • Construction Worker. Perform tasks involving physical labor at building, highway, and heavy construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, and demolition sites. May operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments. May clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, clean up rubble and debris, and remove asbestos, lead, and other hazardous waste materials. May assist other craft workers.
  • Track Layer. Lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. Includes ballast cleaning machine operators and road bed tamping machine operators.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Highway Maintenance Worker Training

Emily Griffith Opportunity School - Denver, CO

Emily Griffith Opportunity School, 1250 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80204-2197. Emily Griffith Opportunity School is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 2,148 students. Emily Griffith Opportunity School has a less than one year program in Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation.

CERTIFICATIONS

Crane Operator Certification: NCCER and NACB have collaborated to develop the Crane Operator Certification Program.

For more information, see the National Center for Construction Education and Research website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Asphalt: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged specifically in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Concrete: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Soils: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Construction: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in the inspection (monitoring) of highway construction projects.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Maintenance: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in the inspection/supervision of street and highway maintenance activities.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Materials: This certification program is for highway engineering technicians involved in laboratory and field testing of highway materials such as aggregates, asphalts, concrete, soils, paints, and metals.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Surveys: This certification program is for engineering technicians involved in field and/or office aspects of highway surveying.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Traffic Operations: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in traffic studies and traffic control.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway System Maintenance and Preservation: This certification is designed for engineering technicians who perform and inspect highway system maintenance and preservation work; the program is applicable to both private and public sector technicians.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Thornton, Colorado

Thornton, Colorado
Thornton, Colorado photo by bonjourpeewee

Thornton is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 113,429, which has grown by 37.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thornton, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Thornton are priced at $176,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-five new homes were constructed in Thornton, down from four hundred eighty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thornton are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.9% of Thornton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thornton is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Thornton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.