An event designed to introduce high school juniors and seniors to careers in the highway and bridge industry was held February 25-27 in the Northeast Florida area for the first time ever.
“Construction Career Days is a joint effort of the Florida Department of Transportation and its industry partners to attract the next generation of workforce that will help build and maintain transportation infrastructure for decades to come,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad.
The event involved nearly 70 professional organizations throughout Florida and the U.S. in the transportation industry. For three days, the event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center presented learning labs, career information, and allowed students to operate heavy equipment for hands-on training. Students from 18 public and private schools in Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties participated.
The learning labs included such diverse subjects as asphalt field testing, bridge design and repair, concrete production and testing, earthwork field testing, surveying methods, transmission circuit inspection, and underground utility construction. The career center included job searching, resume writing, and interview skills as provided by consulting engineers and professional organizations.
Nineteen pieces of heavy equipment were brought in to provide students with a closer look at the specialized equipment used in construction. Students were allowed to operate the equipment in games of skill.
“Florida continues to heavily invest in its transportation infrastructure; roads, bridges, ports, airports, for the creation of jobs,” said FDOT District Secretary Greg Evans, whose area includes 18 counties in Northeast Florida. “Florida will depend on future generations to fill highly skilled engineering and technical positions. FDOT must encourage students to initiate the pursuit of these jobs to secure a qualified work force.”
Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each will be presented to two students from each county who are either intending to enter college and pursue degrees or attend vocational school upon graduation. The winners will be announced in April.
Besides FDOT, the event was sponsored by Florida Transportation Builders’ Association and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Industry partners included construction contractors, engineering firms, equipment vendors, state and local agencies, colleges, and military organizations. More than 300 volunteers participated.
Although this was the first Construction Career Days event held in Northeast Florida, it has been held for more than 10 years in both Central Florida (Orlando) and South Florida (Fort Lauderdale).
For more information on Construction Career Days, visit: www.CCDFL.com