Massachusetts Construction Career Day Background

 

The Construction Career Days (CCD) program started in Texas in 1999, as a partnership between Associated General Contractors, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Texas Department of Transportation. There are now at least 22 states that are holding or are planning to hold a CCD, event.
 
Currently, the following organizations are represented on the MassCCD Steering Committee: Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Construction Industries of Massachusetts, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), New England Laborers, Massachusetts Aggregate and Asphalt Pavement Association, Massachusetts Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association, and the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE. Many other organizations will support the event with materials, volunteers and funding.  The Engineering Center Education Trust in Boston (TECET) hosts the MassCCD website at www.engineers.org/massccd
 
This event is a great opportunity for juniors and seniors in high school to learn about the wide variety of career paths possible in the construction field. The event is a hands-on career exposure forum for high school students, with construction equipment for the students to try out, design challenges to figure out, and skilled volunteers from many construction disciplines to talk to the students about their career, the skills they use every day and the technical knowledge and professionalism necessary to perform their job.
 
The focus of the original CCD in Texas was largely contractor-driven. Locally, the MassCCD Steering Committee and the Massachusetts DOE (Dept. of Education, now DESE) will present a broad spectrum of construction industry careers, from construction managers and engineers, to laborers and heavy equipment operators, carpenters and surveyors. One of the goals of the local event is to remove the perceived stigma from the word “construction” and to broaden the understanding of the industry by students and teachers. It seeks to recruit students from academic and comprehensive high schools as well as from vocational technical programs. We currently anticipate approximately 600 students from different regions in Massachusetts on each of the three days.
 
Student will have both heavy and high-tech computer equipment to operate under the supervision of trained operators. Students will learn how a concrete mixer works, design bridges with high-tech engineering tools, handle a jackhammer, excavate a site, develop clean water and air or build a project from the ground up. The day is intended to be a total educational experience for the students. In some states, the buses drive by construction sites on the route to and from the event, with chaperones acting as tour guides telling the students about the projects.
 
An important aspect of the interaction between the students and the teachers will be identifying employability skills that translate across all professions. The DESE’s Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan will drive this educational component. The program will involve a curriculum around the event, including pre- and post-event classroom activities to emphasize the message students receive that day.
 
MassCCD is seeking to involve a number of educational programs in this effort. Students have designed the posters and brochures. Media students will videotape and photograph the event, and help to get the MassCCD message out to other students and teachers.
 
Many of the professional and trade associations involved also offer students and teachers information on how to arrange for an outreach visit, or where they can get additional information on careers and scholarships for education in engineering and construction.