Building the Future: Inspiring the Next Generation of Construction Professionals through Education

By Mike Arnold, CCCA, CFM, LEED AP

The construction industry is booming now, and with it there is a shortage of workers in the construction trades as well construction professional positions. This shortage can have a negative impact on the quality, cost, and duration of building projects.

One way to combat this situation is to engage the generation that will greatly influence the industry’s success: high school students on the cusp of making career decisions. That was the impetus behind the development of Reynolds’ student education program, which uses active school construction projects as the centerpiece of its educational component.

This year, Reynolds introduced the program to three Pennsylvania school districts where Reynolds is managing new construction or addition/renovation projects: Altoona Area (new high school), Peters Township (new high school), and Cornwall-Lebanon (elementary school addition/renovation). Sessions at several other districts with active projects are planned in upcoming months. The sessions consist of a presentation followed by a tour of the project in construction. Some of the elements included in the sessions are:

  • Introduction to the Design/Construction Industry – Although building construction is a large sector of the construction industry, there are many other sectors to consider, such as bridge and highway, industrial, and residential. Students review the various sectors and discuss different project delivery methods to learn what it takes to design and build a facility.
  • Construction Career Opportunities – Not everyone in construction wears a hard hat. Students learn about the many career opportunities that exist within the sectors, such as architecture, engineering, project management, or business development. What opportunities exist for tech-savvy students to influence the technology used in design and construction?
  • School-Specific Information – What does it take to build YOUR school? How is that the same or different from other schools? Students get a behind-the-scenes look at phasing plans, statistics, and other information that gives them a better understanding of the required coordination among construction team members.
  • Site Tour – Dressed in hard hats and vests, students go on-site to see for themselves what has been presented. During this time, the importance of job site safety is shared with the students.

Awakened to the possibilities that exist in construction careers, students are better positioned to make a construction-related choice. It’s a pleasure to walk them through what may be their first experience with construction and know that the industry might be gaining some inquisitive, bright, and eager additions someday soon.

About Mike

Mike Arnold, CCCA, CFM, LEED AP, is Reynolds’ Vice President of Construction Management Services who is just as active in the community as he is around our Oakmont, Pennsylvania, office. Throughout his 31 years of experience in design and construction, Mike has served as architect’s representative, general contractor, construction manager, project executive, and facilities manager, where he’s worked on more than 200 projects with a total value of over $6 billion. Outside of the office, he participates in programs to inspire and teach the next generation of construction trade workers and professionals, including Reynolds’ K-12 student education, college internship programs, Penn State’s Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence program, and guest lecturing for Penn State’s architecture/engineering program.

About Reynolds

With more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, Reynolds is a full-service building solutions provider with a wide array of service offerings to our clients, including construction, construction management, restoration, energy, and commissioning and engineering.

At Reynolds, it is our goal to become the first contact for all building solutions. Throughout the course of a relationship with our clients, we strive to resolve each and every issue as it arises, so that our clients end up with a high-quality project that meets their needs…every time. Interested in learning more about Reynolds including our student education program? Contact us today.

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