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The Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania has come up with a promising way to attract more recruits to the industry. They’ve set up a “virtual apprenticeship” video game in which young people can find out if road building construction is right for them.
According to this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette visitors to the Future Road Builders website can fill out a questionnaire to see how well their aptitudes and temperament match what’s needed in the construction industry. Then they can click through a mock highway project and see all the different stages it goes through to completion.
You can view the game at www.cawp.org and by clicking the “Career Center” tab and then “Future Road Builders.” A video introduction to the game is below.
This makes a lot of sense for several reasons. First, aptitude tests are something all teens take as they progress through high school. These tests are both good at screening out people who aren’t a good fit, and for those who are, a good test result is typically an ego boost for a young person. It also plants a small but positive idea in the minds of the kids who score well. So right off the bat, you make the kids feel good about themselves and the industry.
The second step, letting the kids wander through a virtual highway project, is absolutely brilliant. Construction sites of any kind look like an intimidating mess to the uninitiated. By letting the kids walk through each step quickly and conveniently on their computers, the site eliminates the intimidation factor and creates that “ah-ha” moment, which is what every educator strives to achieve.
While the CAWP’s website it geared toward roadbuilding construction, the concept could easily be adapted to site development, commercial construction, utility work, quarry and mining, demolition, homebuilding and other construction specialties.