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Allan J. Hauck
Construction Management Department Head
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Today’s students have a solid background in math and communication. They have a good introduction to estimating, scheduling, contracts, methods, materials, engineering and design. Nearly all of them also have been introduced to alternative project delivery, lean construction, BIM and LEED. Many are passionate about issues related to sustainability.

The artificial environment of the classroom can provide the “how” of their education. What we rely on industry to provide is the “why.” We need help putting all of this theory into context. Why do we arrange the contract in this way? Why do we sequence the concrete pour like that? Nearly all students will have an internship that should help with this context, but watching other constructors “practice their profession” is the only way they will start to master the profession themselves.

I encourage you to reach out to the institutions where you recruit, where you received your degree and where future leaders are being prepared. I can guarantee they will appreciate your input.

Richard Gebken
Construction Management Program Coordinator
Missouri State University
Springfield, Mo.

Today’s graduates have grown up continuously connected to the Internet. As a result, today’s graduates are deeply collaborative with their peers, resourceful in finding information and creative in solving problems. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer graduates have significant real-world, hands-on experience.

Today’s graduates need to seek out opportunities to get their hands dirty. Our university incorporates lab and field-based activities into as many courses as possible. We encourage students to get internships as early as possible to develop their ability to identify field issues. Employers can help by offering younger students more work opportunities and by having today’s seasoned veterans mentor tomorrow’s industry leaders.

Jacob Kovel
Manufacturing & Construction Management Department Chair
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Conn.

Of all the new skills the current construction management graduates bring to the job, the most significant are in the area of technology use. Today’s graduates are more technologically savvy than ever before. They are familiar with software packages ranging from Word and Excel to Primavera and Navisworks. They know how to use tablets and smartphones to enhance construction operations. In addition, today’s graduates are willing to try new things and take chances. They also expect to be in charge at a very early point in their careers.

On the other hand, this reliance on technology has led to declining interpersonal skills. Employers will need to take time to help new hires develop the soft skills that keep the industry going.

Associated Builders and Contractors is hosting a Construction Management Career Fair Nov. 11 during its Leadership Conference in San Diego. For more information, visit www.abc.org.


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