From the Classroom to the Jobsite

by Balfour Beatty

June 15, 2022

The construction industry has been arguably one of the hardest-hit industries by the ongoing labor shortage, and the need to maintain a robust talent pipeline is only increasing. According to a recent study from by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the industry needs more than half a million workers above its current pace of hiring to meet the anticipated demand in 2022.

At Balfour Beatty, we believe that developing a robust talent pipeline requires investing in the next generation of construction leaders through active engagement with students at an early age.

At our project, Trinity Christian Academy's new middle school in Addison, Texas, the project team has transformed the construction jobsite into a real-world learning laboratory for students. In partnership with school staff, the project team utilizes construction activities to provide the students with valuable lessons about engineering, planning, and designing.

Intended for 7th, 8th grade, and upper school robotics and honors engineering students, the program takes a deep dive into the construction process and helps students begin thinking about the many possible career paths they can pursue in architecture, construction, or engineering.

"Fostering talent of next-generation construction leaders is critical to our industry," says David Monroe, senior project manager on the Trinity Christian Academy project. "This project provides these young students with a valuable lens into what their day-to-day may be as a construction professional and how this directly correlates with their lessons in the classroom."  
By conducting interactive site tours and sessions with the students, David and other members of the project team have utilized this unique opportunity to introduce the students to construction science and management. Through the tours, the students acquire a general understanding of the construction process as each session coincides with each phase of construction. 

The students have learned everything from site prep and designs to foundation construction and even rough-ins. During a more recent tour, the students were also introduced to  OpenSpace, an innovative construction technology the project team utilizes to capture project data. Furthermore, the students receive valuable professional development skills through their early interaction with industry experts.

At Balfour Beatty, playing a role and giving back to the communities in which we live and build is a part of our DNA. And while the construction labor shortage will not disappear overnight, introducing students to the viable and exciting careers they can have in construction benefits the students and the industry as a whole.