Donning virtual reality goggles and iPads loaded with job site data, students at South Technical High School got hands-on experience with high-tech construction tools. PARIC’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) team recently gave a talk at the school about technology in the industry.
The team’s presentation included explanations of how PARIC is using drones, robotic layout, laser scanners, site scans, 3D modeling, clash detection and more. When the presentation finished and the floor opened to questions, students asked about everything from the impact of technology on labor demands to the accuracy of the software. The team also made it clear that the construction industry needs skilled workers and encouraged students to consider this career path.
PARIC has been working with the school for a few years to educate students about the many benefits of careers in construction, including good pay, pronounced need and solid benefits. Bill Lowery, a project executive, explains that the partnership with South Tech as a way to nurture a connection with a potential workforce. He says, “We are engaging high school students on careers. We’ve hired both interns and full-time workers from this program.”
In addition to hiring, PARIC has taken the South Tech students on jobsite tours, hosted signing days for new tradespeople, and engaged them on our projects.
Tim Maune, VDC Support Specialist, said the students had the most questions about the use of drones and augmented/virtual reality. He says, “I was most impressed by the kids’ true attention and eagerness to listen and learn about how technology is changing the way we build.”
Maune graduated from a technical high school in Washington, MO and thinks it’s important for students to understand their full range of career options. Maune points out that students with hands-on experience can make more informed decisions because they know college is not the only path to a career. He says, “Technical schools are the most effective way to bridge the gap in skilled labor that has begun plaguing our industry in the last decade.”