Building the Next Generation of Engineers
By Jim Porter, PE
Principal and Director of Sales
Most industry experts agree that the future of construction is bright. With advanced technologies aiding in design, such as augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), BIM, and integrated networking capabilities through the Internet of Things (IoT), the industry has the potential for amazing growth. However, the future also holds a challenge for construction: attracting younger workers. The industry needs reinforcements as its current workforce nears retirement, which is why organizations like the ACE Mentor Program play a crucial role in developing the next generation of architects, engineers and construction professionals.
The goal of ACE is to introduce high school students to a wide range of careers in building design and construction, inspiring them to pursue opportunities and supporting their continued advancement in the industry. In order to achieve this, students partner with local architects, engineers and contractors and participate in design projects, field trips, office tours and other hands-on activities.
HAWA has been involved in the ACE Mentor Program of Central Ohio since its start, not only as a participant, but also as one of the founding members. We started out at Linden High School in 2009, and the following year, HAWA and ACE moved on to Columbus Downtown High School. We have partnered with their architecture/engineering class for the last eight years, during which the senior class incorporated our program into their curriculum. Our next partnership will be with Northland High School, where we will work with their STEM students, adapting the program to suit their specific needs and abilities.
The ACE program is invaluable in reaching out to underserved communities and showing them the opportunities out there – and the pathways to those professions as well. As mentors, we share our passion for our jobs with the next generation of the industry’s workforce, opening doors for students that were not there before.
If you or your firm are interested in learning more about the program, I encourage you to check out our annual Jenga competition, which serves as a fundraiser, mentor recruitment and informational event. This year’s event will be held on October 25 at the Center for Architecture and Design.