(L-R): Anna Fontana, Mostafa Khattab and Jen Fyhrie accept the AGC ACE Construction Education Award.
The Associated General Contractors recently awarded the CSU Department of Construction Management its prestigious AGC ACE Construction Education Award. The award was presented at AGC's Industry & Awards Gala, Colorado's largest commercial building construction event.
The award recognizes and celebrates initiatives and innovative programs from statewide construction education programs that promote engagement of the construction industry in the education process, in preparing students to join industry, and in making an impact in communities. AGC awarded the department for its commitment to building a more diverse construction management workforce.
The department has long recognized the value of a diverse workforce. To this end, the department created a recruitment taskforce in 2011 to focus on bringing a more diverse pool of students into the department.
Working closely with its industry partners, it created a student recruitment coordinator and academic advisor position. The department tasked the position with spearheading department outreach and building awareness around the professional opportunities offered by the construction industry.
In 2012, the department converted the taskforce into a standing Recruitment and Retention Committee chaired by the student recruitment coordinator and academic advisor. Department outreach has included partnerships and presentations with high schools around the state, attendance at Colorado Construction Career Days; participation in the Society of Women Engineers Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math events; and hosting annual open house information sessions.
They also have strengthened relationships with Colorado community colleges to streamline the transfer process for students wanting to move on to a four-year degree. Additionally, the department, with generous support from industry and CM alumnae, held its inaugural Women in Construction Institute in June. The institute was several years in the making and brought a group of high school women to campus for four days to learn about the construction industry.
The combination of innovative outreach and old-fashioned persistence has payed dividends, as the percentage of CM students identifying as ethnically diverse has increased from less than 9 percent in 2008 to more than 17 percent today.