The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) announces the regional winners in its Construction Challenge teen competition. More than 2,000 students from around the United States, and in Toronto, Canada, competed in 15 simultaneous qualifying rallies to secure their spot in the challenge finals.
The Construction Challenge finals will be held May 20-23, 2009 during the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sponsorships are available to help cover the costs of student teams' participation.
AEM partners with Destination ImagiNation to produce the Challenge, which is a creative problem solving program that introduces students to the skills they could be using on the job site in the coming years as federal and state governments seek to fund badly needed infrastructure projects.
Now in its second year, the Construction Challenge offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about available construction careers and how critical off-road equipment is to creating and maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed in North America and Europe, as well as by increasing numbers in the developing world.
The AEM competition is designed to engage teens through a hands-on, educational experience and to introduce them to careers as engineers, equipment technicians, and manufacturing professionals.
More than 300 student teams competed in the regional rallies, held in early February, for a spot in the finals. Qualifying regional rallies were held in Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), Cincinnati (OH), Dallas (TX), Denver (CO), Kansas City (MO), Milwaukee (WI), Minneapolis (MN), Enid (OK), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), Sacramento (CA), Seattle (WA), and Toronto (ON).
Even before the renewed focus on rebuilding infrastructure, the construction industry was concerned about meeting demand for trained workers as a large portion of its current workforce enters retirement.
"The success of the stimulus package, the rebuilding of our infrastructure and the training of millions of workers will be directly related to the success of future generations of Americans," said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. "The Construction Challenge is one way our industry is helping prepare and invest in that future. We also hope everyone has a little fun and gets inspired along the way."
For more details on the Challenge, go online at www.constructionchallenge.org.