By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Transportation is making good on a promise to hire hundreds of locals for the upcoming Interstate 70 expansion project.

Monday was the first night of a training boot camp CDOT are offering for those potential hires.

(credit: CBS)

For the next four weeks, nearly 50 people will attend the first training session in an old warehouse that has been turned into a classroom.

Monique Gilmore is enrolled in the training. She hopes the move will get her out of her current job in the food industry.

Monique Gilmore om the CDOT boot camp class (credit: CBS)

“It was like I was looking for something different. I was praying for it,” Gilmore said.

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CDOT spokesperson Rebecca White says the four-week sessions will provide Gilmore and the rest of the class the safety training and hands on experience needed to land a construction job generated by the Central 70 Project.

Central 70 Project (credit: CBS)

“This is a $1.2 billion project and that can mean a lot for local business but it can also mean a lot for folks who live next to the project,” White said.

After getting federal approval to move forward with the project CDOT said they would hire 20 percent of the projects from the neighborhoods most impacted by the project.

CDOT spokeswoman Rebecca White (credit: CBS)

As a commitment to that promise, CDOT has opened the workforce center in the heart of the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, one of 15 located along that section of I-70.

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“Construction can be family-sustaining wages which is why we are so excited to do local hire because these are good paying jobs,” White said.

Pedro Garcia (credit: CBS)

Pedro Garcia calls the Elyria-Swansea area home. Unlike some of his neighbors who oppose the construction project, he welcomes the opportunity to grow.

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“They’re going to give back good jobs to the community, they’ll also give good training and have the people be able make a better life for themselves in the future,” Garcia said.

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Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.