MONROE, La. — It is no secret that the construction industry took a big hit during the Great Recession of 2007–09 and continued through 2014. As a result of a scarcity of jobs, many construction professionals left the industry and haven’t returned to the field.
Now, with the economy on the rebound, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points to a big upswing in the demand for experienced, qualified constructors over the next decade. In fact, the numbers indicate that there will not be enough Construction Management graduates to meet the expected growth. Through the year 2024, the predictions are that 1,028 positions will go unfilled each year.
The School of Construction Management (SCM) at the University of Louisiana Monroe—the premier institution of construction in the state of Louisiana—sees this as an important opportunity to train the next generation of construction professionals.
The SCM was founded in 1966 and within 10 years the school became the first institution in the country to be accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE)—accreditation that the program continues to maintain today.
The School will host an event this Friday night in celebration of its 50th year anniversary.
Former SCM graduates and spouses, as well as former and current faculty and administration, will gather for an evening to show its Respect for the Past, Pride in the Present, and Vision for the Future.
Respect for the past: The SCM will honor Thurman Potts, who was the first director of the School of Construction and also, as a founding member, proposed the name of the professional organization, the American Institute of Constructors (AIC). With his capable leadership, ULM’s SCM became the first accredited program of the ACCE.
Pride in the Present: The SCM will also honor their first recipient of the national construction certification, Associate Constructor Meredith Scelfo, a recent graduate of the program. The AC certification program is sponsored by the AIC and requires that applicants meet certain education and/or experience standards, then pass the CQE Level 1 examination.
Vision for the Future: The Don Beach Entry Hall will be a fitting tribute to a great leader in the industry and a display area for plaques recognizing winners of the Endowed Scholarships, Certified Constructors, Distinguished Alumni Awards, and the Constructor of the Year Awards. More future projects to be celebrated include a 2-story-high bay wing Construction Practices Lab and the renovation of all mechanical systems as well as the Construction Management offices and other public areas.
Recently, the SCM earned its renewal of accreditation from the ACCE. The accreditation process includes a thorough peer review of curriculum, faculty credentials, student support, financial resources, industry engagement, and physical resources.
Dr. Ron Berry, Dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences stated, “It is rewarding to see the efforts of our construction faculty and the quality of our construction management program recognized by this accreditation renewal. I sincerely appreciate the work of the faculty, support of the administration, and engagement of the Industry Advisory Council that led to the renewal.”
Due to demand, the SCM has recently expanded its curriculum. Upon recommendation from the Industry Advisory Council, ULM’s Construction Management degree program created five new required courses in fall 2015: Construction Contracts, Digital Site Management, Construction Administration, Associate Constructor (AC) Exam Prep, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Plan Reading.
Courses like these are preparing students for careers in construction, careers that graduates of the program are having no problem finding.
According to John Hunter, President of Steel Fabricators of Monroe, “All three owners of our company are graduates of the (ULM) program…our success has been a direct result of this education.”
With all the new resources, a seasoned faculty, a rich history, and a high rate of job placement, the return on investment is significantly positive.
According to Dr. Ed Brayton, Director of the SCM, “The Construction Management program at ULM provides students with the construction management skills identified by contractors as essential for becoming a certified Associated Constructor (AC) through the American Institute of Constructors (AIC). Our learning labs help translate classroom instructions into the practical, hands-on skills students will need to excel in their careers.”
For more information about Friday’s 50th year celebration (including RSVP details), please contact Don Greenland (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sponsorships for this event are available.
To learn more about the School of Construction Management, visit ulm.edu/cbss/construction.