Creativity of workforce development program cited
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has received an “innovation” award for its Construction Challenge student competition. The AEM workforce initiative promotes greater awareness of construction industry careers and industry contributions to an improved standard of living.
The “innovation” award is sponsored by Trade Show Executive magazine and recognizes programs that provide new value for show organizers, attendees and exhibitors, and that contribute to the exposition industry as a whole. An independent panel of judges selects the winners. AEM was one of eight organizations chosen in the annual recognition program.
The finals of the inaugural Construction Challenge were held at the AEM booth on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 show floor. AEM is an owner of and manages the triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Student participants also toured the show and had the opportunity to talk with AEM member companies and other show exhibitors about the industry and the exposition. The 2009 Challenge finals competition, which recently ended, was held at the global finals of the Destination ImagiNation organization, which is a Challenge partner.
The innovation-award judges cited the AEM program as “heads and shoulders above other (industry) recruitment efforts” because of the innovative partnering with Destination ImagiNation and a commitment to measuring program results.
The AEM Construction Challenge focuses on middle and high school students, and it uses a team format that emphasizes creativity and problem solving skills. Challenge teams are surveyed pre- and post-participation on their knowledge of the construction industry, including careers and the importance of a well-maintained infrastructure.
“It’s been gratifying to see the Challenge help participants better understand the importance of our industry and increase their interest in construction careers,” stated David Bannister, AEM workforce development manager. “Our Challenge outreach has also been influential in spotlighting the industry to their communities, schools, teachers, parents and counselors.”
Rusty McCarty, president of Destination ImagiNation, adds, “We have a 26-year track record of developing interactive programs that engage the imagination of young people. We are very pleased to collaborate with AEM on the Construction Challenge to help build the future construction workforce.”
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