John Deere Construction & Forestry Co. last week announced its sponsorship of a team of high school students in the Construction Challenge, an event designed to attract the best young people into the construction industry in professions ranging from manufacturing to in-the-field careers.
Developed by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers in partnership with Destination ImagiNation, the Construction Challenge focuses on three areas: awareness of construction-related jobs, construction equipment and manufacturing, and infrastructure awareness. The event focuses attention on the importance of the construction industry and the benefits it provides, according to Jim Orr, director of marketing, John Deere Construction & Forestry Co.
“The construction industry builds the infrastructure we all depend on for our way of life,” Orr said. “We're excited to be a part of this event, which gives students the opportunity to learn about our business while developing critical life and job skills.”
The Construction Challenge includes six regional events held across the United States in January 2008 — including the West (California), Southeast (Georgia), East/New England (New Jersey), East Central (Ohio), Southeast (Texas) and Midwest (Wisconsin) regions. Winning teams, which are each sponsored by an AEM member, qualify to participate in the Construction Challenge finals competition in March 2008 during AEM's international ConExpo-Con/Agg exposition in Las Vegas.
The challenge finals, which feature 60 teams of high school students, includes three segments. The dialogue segment is comprised of a researched presentation with moderated discussion and debate on the relationships between construction infrastructure — especially roads/highways and water/sewer — and quality of life. The product development segment requires each team to research, design and develop a new product, while the “Road Warrior” segment asks the teams to explore infrastructure issues and implement a solution with team-created construction equipment.
Each advancing team will work for eight weeks after the regional rally to complete all three segments of the Construction Challenge. Participating teams will spend a week in Las Vegas networking at one of the world’s largest construction trade shows while enjoying access to possible scholarships and internship opportunities.
“With more than a million new jobs available by 2012, our industry is booming, yet the workforce is continually shrinking with the retirement of baby boomers,” Orr said. “Our hope is that this event will challenge these young people while conveying to them the tremendous opportunity that awaits in the world of construction.”