msuspartans.JPGMichigan State University is looking for a construction management professor to join their team. The details on the position can be found at this link and below:

PLAN,  DSGN, CONST-ANR – SPECIALIST (2 POSITIONS)

Fixed term, 12-month basis, 100% time.
Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience. 

DUTIES:  Teach undergraduate level courses in Construction Management (90%). Participate in department service activities such as advising, curriculum development, institute service activities, and student activities, as well as being active in the professional community and professional organizations (10%).  The Construction Management Program has a nationally recognized program that awards an A.C.C.E. accredited baccalaureate degree as well as Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees in Construction Management. The program currently has 9 full-time faculty positions and approximately 300 undergraduate students and 25 graduate students. This position provides exceptional opportunities for individuals who wish to be associated with a first-rate, multi-disciplinary program with rapidly developing research activities. The selected candidate will have unique opportunities to also teach overseas through study abroad programs.  Initial term is for 3-years, with potential to renew depending on performance and availability of funds. For further information about the School of Planning, Design and Construction and the Construction Management Program, visit the Departmental Web site at http://www.spdc.msu.edu/.

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NPR has a good article entitled, “As Construction Booms, So Do New Jobs” that reports on opportunities in the industry. You can also find an audio link on the site that goes into a bit more detail than the written article. A brief snippet of the article regarding salary levels can be found below:

“College students — and their parents — could be forgiven for not knowing about a major called “Construction Management.” But construction — roughly 5 percent of the nation’s economy — is booming. And insiders say the industry is decades behind similar fields in having enough highly educated and trained managers to run companies.

As a result, schools like the Wentworth Institute of Technology are putting new emphasis on the degree, touting a voracious job market and a median starting salary of $46,000. Graduates say that figure often ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 after five to 10 years”

lg.jpgCheck out this article about about an interesting outreach project underway between Minnesota State Professor, Scott Fee, and one of his friends in South Africa.

I need some comments on construction internships from the audience of this blog.

As someone who has been out of school for a while now, I want to see what current students are looking for in an construction internship. Below you will find a brief list of the what I like to offer to my intern employees:

1. Structure — I have heard of many “intern horror stories” where the student was stuck updating RFIs (Requests For Information) all day, every day with little to no variety in daily activities. To address this problem, an intern training matrix can be developed during the first week of the internship to outline the activities that will be covered during the internship. This matrix will cover several standard topics and a few unique topics generated by the intern and the intern’s mentor. Click here to see a sample of an intern training matrix that I used last summer for one of our interns.

2. Mentoring — Set the intern up with a mentor who they can go to with any questions. The intern experience is primarily a learning one, so the intern should “wear out” the mentor with numerous questions. The mentor is someone other then the intern’s boss and is typically someone with at least a couple years experience.

3. Responsibility — Give the intern some responsibility – this could be as basic as keeping the record drawings up to date (which can be a huge task on large projects) or as elaborate as providing an initial review of potential change orders quotes from subcontractors. The main point here keep the student engaged and busy enough that they are not just sitting in front of a computer honing their skills at solitare or minesweeper.

4. Exposure to a Wide Range of Construction Management Activities — Expose the intern to a wide range of construction activities with a focus on field construction activities. Typically an internship period is only a few months long, so a focused effort is required to introduce the intern to as many area of construction in a short time frame. This is one of the main reasons that I use the intern training matrix referenced above.

5. Exposure to Company Culture — Welcome the intern to the team as if they were to become a full-time member. Expose the intern to as many cultural activities as possible. An example of this with my last intern was sending him to our all-hands meeting in Nashville, TN (our project was in San Jose, CA) in order to meet as many of our other healthcare construction employees as possible and to attend the corporate training conducted over the three day event. An internship is a great time for a student to determine if they are a fit with the particular company and you can be assured that the company providing the internship is making a similar evaluation.

The list above is just a start – what are students looking for in their internships? Please comment.

Since most of the readers of the blog so far are construction management students, I thought the following posting would be appreciated.

I originally came across the article entitled, “What do you wish you learned in college?” at Lifehacker.com which refers to to the article entitled, “13 Things I Wish I Learned in College” at NextPath . The article lists the following 13 items:

  1. Getting to the Point
  2. Making Proper Presentations
  3. Working on a Team
  4. Writing a Resume
  5. Interviewing
  6. Networking
  7. Accountability
  8. Money Management
  9. Taking the Initiative
  10. Strategic Planning
  11. Dressing for Success
  12. Negotiating a Raise
  13. Writing a Letter of Resignation

Check out the article links above for great write-ups explaining each item on the list.

scbtc_buildingtrades_logo-1.JPGOne of the goals of this blog is to provide outreach to those interested in the opportunities that the construction industry can offer, but unfamiliar with or new to the industry itself. Past postings have highlighted the ACE Mentoring Program, which introduces high school students to construction careers, and I recently came across another great initiative underway in California’s Silicon Valley.

Check out the great article at MercuryNews.com entitled Blue Collar Jobs Gain Respect. A portion of the article can be found below:

“For two decades, as shop classes disappeared from middle schools and vocational education withered in high schools, Neil Struthers watched and worried. He was a lone voice warning about the growing disconnect between students without job skills and skilled construction jobs going without workers.

The ultimate vision for career technical education is a continuum of training and work, starting with exposure to careers in middle school, continuing with a blend of job skills and applied academics in high school, and then branching off to work or to advanced courses in community and four-year colleges.

Think of it not as a straight line from school to work but a circuit with loops in which students work summers in the trades, and adult workers go to school evenings, earning advanced certificates and learning to become estimators, contractors or site managers.

These career options are essential for the state’s economy and vital for Silicon Valley, too, where there’s a shortage not just of engineers with Ph.D.s, but also of workers to build the “clean rooms” to serve them. Those construction jobs pay good money, too.

Some pieces are years off, others are falling into place.

• With equipment donated by the building trades, Struthers has helped restart the dormant construction technology academy at Yerba Buena High in the East Side Union High School District. Over three years, the 54 students in the program will be exposed to all facets of building construction. Each summer, 25 students will be paid interns for school district contractors doing work funded by state and local school bonds. When they graduate, they can move ahead in the line for apprenticeships to become carpenters, electricians, plumbers or heavy machine operators, under agreements that Struthers has struck with the unions. Or they can continue on to college, perhaps for a four-year degree in construction management at Cal-Poly or San Jose State.”

BYU Judging by the comments submitted to this blog, most of the readers are construction management students (with one noted exception where a construction industry professional was looking for more information on opportunities in academia).

So in order to cater to the target audience for this blog, you will find information below from the BYU Website that lists several of the goals of their construction management program. This list can give students or potential students a better idea of the topics covered in a construction management program. I especially liked this list because it provides specific details for the activities, rather than just a course listing. So you get a goal like, “Have the knowledge and ability to schedule using Critical Path Method and computers” rather than “Scheduling 423”.

The list can be found below and at the following link to the BYU Website:

“To be able to accurately estimate construction projects with the use of computerized estimating systems.

Have the knowledge and ability to schedule using Critical Path Method and computers.

Have the ability to set up cost accounts and variance reports.

Have the knowledge and ability to manage the safety operations of a company.

To be knowledgeable of the major issues concerning contract law.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with carpenters.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with electricians.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with HVAC subcontractors.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with the concrete and masonry subcontractors.

Be able to read and interpret contract plans, specifications and documents.

Be capable of successfully working on a survey or layout crew.

To be able to communicate effectively with engineers concerning main engineering principles and practices.

To understand and apply the basic principles of real estate finance and development.

To have the student feel good enough about their education from the BYU Construction Management Program to advise a friend with similar interests to select CM as their major.

To have alumni that are satisfied with their decision to major in construction management.”