Ditch Witch major sponsor of AEM 2011 Construction Challenge

Ditch Witch has signed on as a major sponsor of the 2011 Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Construction Challenge presented by Volvo Construction Equipment.

Ditch Witch will sponsor one of the two “finals” challenges of the student competition taking place at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2011, according to AEM.

The top 50 student teams chosen from regional rallies held across the United States and in Canada in early 2011 will compete in the “Road Rumble sponsored by Ditch Witch” to be held at ConExpo-Con/Agg in March 2011 in Las Vegas.

Road Rumble sponsored by Ditch Witch will focus on the principal that to successfully construct a new building, you need efficient infrastructure supply routes. This challenge will feature teams competing head-to-head as they build a piece of equipment that can repair and traverse obstacles. After they overcome these obstacles and deliver their building supplies, the race is on to construct a new building.

AEM initiated the Construction Challenge as an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about rewarding construction careers and the vital role the industry plays in creating and maintaining a high quality of life around the world.

“The 2011 Construction Challenge is shaping up to be the best yet, and we are looking forward to its return to ConExpo-Con/Agg,” said AEM President Dennis Slater in a press statement from AEM. “There is not a better place for these students to learn about the scope and importance of construction. Ditch Witch’s sponsorship helps ensure that the Challenge program will continue to provide thousands more young people with fun, educational experiences that introduce them to construction career opportunities.”

Ditch Witch CEO Tiffany Sewell-Howard states, “The Construction Challenge provides a setting for young people to develop the kind of creative problem-solving Ditch Witch needs to innovate new solutions to everyday challenges in the construction industry. We are pleased to help make this experience possible.”

Ditch Witch has been a team sponsor since the inaugural AEM Construction Challenge competition was held in 2008, and the teams they have sponsored captured first place overall for 2008 and second place overall for 2009.

Despite recent job losses, the construction sector still faces a severe shortage of qualified workers to meet future needs, including massive infrastructure repair and maintenance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the construction industry needs to attract 240,000 workers each year to replace those leaving the industry and to allow for growth. By 2020 manufacturing overall faces a skilled worker shortage of 13-15 million with no growth in the 18-26-year-old age group.

Since its inception, the AEM Construction Challenge has directly engaged over 10,000 middle and high school students across North America, and the program and its messages have made an impression on more than 18 million students on a global level. Nearly 70 percent of Challenge participants said they are now considering a construction career.

For the Challenge, AEM partners with the global creativity organization Destination ImagiNation, known for programs that foster creative problem solving through hands-on teamwork. A construction-themed program is an integral part of DI’s core program, culminating in a yearly global finals competition. The triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG exposition hosts a special edition of the AEM Construction Challenge in show years, to provide students with even more exposure to the construction industry. AEM is show producer and a show owner.