BC&E Foundation awards four grants to youth and education organizations
From tiny house projects to virtual career education to a modern hydraulic dump mortar mixer, recipients of the 2020 BC&E Foundation grants are leveraging an array of tools to provide students with information, inspiration and training around construction industry careers.
In total, the Foundation awarded $14,000 in grants: $5,000 to the Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation (MCCEI), $3,000 to Eastern Technical High School, $3,000 to the Carroll County Career and Technology Center (CCCTC) and $3,000 to the ACE Mentor Program of Baltimore.
“The applications were so impressive,” said Doug McGinnis, Chief Executive Officer of Bunting Door & Hardware Co. and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “These schools and organizations are doing so much to educate students about attractive careers in construction and to train them for those careers.”
Each recipient of the 2020 grants is taking a different approach to that mission.
MCCEI didn’t let the pandemic derail its efforts to provide construction career information to teachers and students and provide classroom resources and training to construction and skilled trades teachers. MCCEI sustained its content-rich Build Your Path (BYP) career information website and, mid-pandemic, created the Build Your Path Classroom to help construction and trades teachers who were struggling to connect with students virtually. MCCEI intends to use the grant to further develop BYP Classroom resources, including a magazine/guidebook, podcasts, videos, a speakers’ bureau to connect industry professionals with high school students and establish a construction internship program.
Eastern Technical High School plans to use the funds to support an intensive, two-year, collaborative project between the students in its Building and Construction Technology program and its Engineering Careers program. The students will design and construct a tiny house. In response to a Request for Proposals, teams of students will develop conceptual and detailed plans for a home that responds to a specific scenario, for example, emergency housing for a family displaced by a natural disaster or a house designed for a family that lives in a remote area with little infrastructure. Engineering teams will complete drawings, costs and building schedules then work closely with Building and Construction students to build the structures.
CCCTC is directing its grant to a very specific need in its masonry program. The program includes more than 30 students each year, produces numerous tradespeople for local employers and creates impressive products for the community. Those have ranged from custom fireplaces, mailboxes and a brick oven for the school’s Culinary Arts program to concrete reef balls for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a stunning memorial to honor victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The program’s mortar mixer, however, is more than 30 years old and no longer current with industry standards. The grant will help the school purchase a powerful, modern, hydraulic mortar mixer, comparable to the equipment used by contractors.
Engaging with more than 150 students from high schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County, the ACE Mentor Program of Baltimore delivers a 15-week program of after-school discussions and workshops about all aspects of architecture, construction and engineering. The program, which involves a wide range of local professionals, enables students to apply what they are learning to real life scenarios, such as creating redevelopment plans for the Baltimore Food Hub. ACE intends to use its grant to expand its virtual education service to students, provide scholarships and pilot a “workforce pipeline initiative” that will provide job shadowing opportunities and paid internships to students.
“These schools and programs create invaluable opportunities,” McGinnis said. “One of the things I am passionate about is trying to help underprivileged people, who come from circumstances where they don’t have the opportunities to gain skills and build a career. These kinds of initiatives help people gain good, solid careers. They bring people into the construction industry and they strengthen communities. I can’t think of anything more important.”