One of the construction industry’s key challenges is continually attracting young talent to the trades and professional disciplines such as engineering
One of the construction industry’s key challenges is continually attracting young talent to the trades and professional disciplines such as engineering and architecture, contend officials from Kerr Concrete Pipe in Folsom, N.J. The increasing complexity of the construction industry demands skilled workers in many fields and at all levels, they add, and without training and education, workers will be ill-prepared.
Cultivating interest in the engineering discipline starts, at the very least, in high school. While some students may have role models in their families or communities, New Jersey education officials note, many look only to the school system for inspiration. Underserved populations are often poorly represented in what they dub STEM careers Û science, technology, engineering and mathematics Û spawning the New Jersey Mentor Power Program.
You can’t aim for what you don’t see, says Maureen Quinn, Executive Director of New Jersey Mentor Power Program. Our program increases the participation of underserved high school students in science and environmental studies through one-to-one mentoring. Mentors become the lighthouse that guide mentees. Together they chart a new course. As a result of the mentoring program, she adds, 100 percent of the students graduate high school, and 85 percent attend college. Most students are interested in engineering, especially as it relates to the environment.
Kerr Concrete began participating last fall and has hired a high school intern as a result of the program. We are optimistic about the Mentor Power Program, says Nick Domenico, Sales Manager at the Folsom site. We are currently working with a mentee on designing a research project as well as providing him an internship.