The American Concrete Institute (ACI) recently approved the initiation of ACI certification programs in both the Philippines and India, increasing the number of countries outside of the United States where ACI certification programs are regularly offered to 19.
ACI currently offers 17 different programs to personnel employed in the concrete construction industry. Certification programs now are available for Aggregate Testing Technicians, Flatwork Finishers, Field Testing Technicians, Inspectors, Laboratory Testing Technicians, Shotcrete Nozzlemen, and Tilt-Up Supervisors. Since 1980, ACI has administered exams to more than 350,000 individuals, with more than 90,000 certifications currently maintained by ACI.
ACI certification examinations (and training, if offered) are administered by "local sponsoring groups," which are typically ACI Chapters, trade associations, public agencies, and educational institutions working with the support and participation of businesses within the construction industry. Each sponsoring group, both in the United States and internationally, must complete an application and approval process that ensures the group possesses the necessary resources and expertise to conduct the programs according to ACI policies. Once approved, the local sponsoring groups are authorized to promote and initiate their programs and administer ACI certification examinations to participants. Every two years, local sponsoring groups must re-apply for authorization to continue offering ACI certification programs. In addition to the United States and the newly added countries of the Philippines and India, ACI currently has approved local sponsoring groups operating in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Panama, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In early June 2008, the Philippine Concrete Industry Association earned the approval of ACI to sponsor certification programs. The Philippines continues to be an exporter of labor, and with the new certification programs in place, those employed by the concrete industry will have the opportunity to become ACI-certified, extending to them the knowledge and skills necessary to employ the best practices available on concrete construction projects.
"The ACI certification program in the Philippines will benefit the local construction industry by uplifting the level of quality and skills of workers and professionals in the concrete sector," states Emilio M. Morales, speaking on behalf of the Philippine Concrete Industry Association. "The programs will benefit thousands of Filipino overseas workers who have had no access before to these certification programs and give them the necessary knowledge and credentials for a brighter future."
This past August, John K. Conn, manager of certification operations at ACI, and Luke Snell, ACI Fellow and certification examiner, traveled to India to meet with officials from the India Chapter of ACI and review their proposed program infrastructure for approval. Larsen & Toubro, India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate, sent 23 employees from across India and the UAE to its campus in Chennai, India, to take the ACI Concrete Field Testing Technician - Grade I certification examination. The program lasted three days and included classroom training, a written examination, and a performance examination. All 23 examinees passed and are now ACI certified. The India Chapter of ACI has committed to conducting an additional exam session in Mumbai, India before the end of 2008. Ultimately, the Chapter plans to offer certification training and exams in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Bangalore, India.
"We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to be an ACI-approved sponsoring group for ACI certification programs, and my colleagues and I believe that India and its construction industry will greatly benefit from these programs through the ACI India Chapter," states Surendra K. Manjrekar, ACI Fellow and current president of the ACI India Chapter. "As a result of the collaborative hard work and commitment of many involved with this initiative, there has been a remarkable positive response from industry officials from all over the country."
ACI has positioned itself to better support the international expansion of its certification programs, thanks to the approval by its Board of Directors during the ACI Spring 2008 Convention last April of an initiative that provides the resources needed to initiate and promote ACI certification programs internationally. Under this initiative, ACI certification staff and examiners are provided the opportunity to travel to international locations to conduct on-site mentoring, meet with key industry personnel, and ensure the infrastructure is in place to maintain the viability of new international sponsoring group operations. It was this initiative that provided funding for the trip to India and is available to support initiation of operations in other countries.
"ACI Certification continues to grow its reputation for being one of the most comprehensive and respected credentialing programs in the construction industry today," says John W. Nehasil, managing director of certification at ACI. "With the addition of ACI-approved programs in the Philippines and India, we are promoting excellence on the jobsite and expanding opportunities for those in concrete construction throughout the world, and we plan to continue growing our presence internationally for years to come."
For more information on ACI's certification programs, please call 248-848-3790 or visit www.acicertification.com.