AEM Creates Youth-Oriented “National Construction Challenge”

In a partnership with Glassboro, N.J.-based non-profit organization Destination ImagiNation, Inc., the Association of Equipment Manufacturers has formed the National Construction Challenge, a special youth-oriented critical thinking and creative problem-solving competition.

The National Construction Challenge is part of AEM's ongoing efforts to attract the best and brightest young people into the construction industry in professions ranging from manufacturing to in-the-field careers. The challenge will focus on three areas: awareness of construction-related jobs, construction equipment and manufacturing, and infrastructure awareness.

AEM is urging member companies as well as others in the construction industry to sponsor teams of five to seven high school students to participate in the challenge finals. Sponsorships help defray the cost for team participation, including travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and team apparel. Each sponsor receives promotional opportunities related to the challenge.

The AEM National Construction Challenge is intended to focus attention on the importance of the construction industry and the benefits it provides. “The challenge is also about having fun, and we've structured it to generate excitement among the young people and adults who will be involved,” said Nicole Hallada, AEM marketing director.

The AEM National Construction Challenge includes six regional events to be held across the United States in January 2008. Winning teams qualify to participate in the National Construction Challenge finals competition, which will be held March 2008 during AEM's international CONEXPO-CON/AGG exposition in Las Vegas, Nev.

The challenge finals will feature some 60 teams of high school students, and include a dialog segment on infrastructure awareness, especially roads/highways and water/sewer; a “product development” segment on awareness of construction-related jobs; and a “road warrior” segment involving construction equipment and manufacturing.

Regional rallies for the AEM National Construction Challenge finals will be held in the West (California), Southeast (Georgia), East/New England (New Jersey), East Central (Ohio), Southeast (Texas), and Midwest (Wisconsin). More information will be provided as details are finalized.

To further promote the construction industry to young people, AEM is also sponsoring the 2007 global finals of Destination ImagiNation's flagship team challenges program, in particular, the "Direct Flight” challenge. In this challenge, teams create aircraft as well as mechanisms to raise and release them, perform aerial maneuvers and then successfully land the aircraft in designated landing zones. The team-challenge finals for this Destination ImagiNation event occur in May 2007 at the University of Tennessee • Knoxville.