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Opportunity for jobs, careers highlight Construction Career Days

"What do I want to be when I grow up?" It's a tough question for many Rhode Island teenagers. To help some 1,300 youth find the answers, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center (URITC) are again partnering to host Construction Career Days, a hands-on career exploration event.

Construction Career Days takes place this week on Wednesday, April 25, and Thursday, April 26, 2012. RIDOT's Midstate Maintenance Facility in East Greenwich is the host site for the two-day event, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., each day. Approximately 1,300 students from more than 50 technical and high schools throughout the State are anticipated to attend.

Students visiting Construction Career Days will be able to operate a wide range of construction equipment such as backhoes, excavators, pavers and bucket trucks. Inside the Midstate facility, there will be a variety of activities including welding, plumbing, electrical work, a truck driving simulator and other disciplines. A number of technical schools and colleges also will be in attendance.

"This is a great opportunity to expose students to a wide range of career opportunities in construction," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "RIDOT is proud to host this event and help develop tomorrow's workforce."

Success stories are plenty from Construction Career Days. Through the years, students have been inspired by their experiences and gone on to further education or professional training in a particular area of construction, noted Jeff Cathcart, Director of Technology Transfer and Outreach of the URI Transportation Center.

"We know of students who attended Construction Career Days and went directly into the work force in less than year," Cathcart said. "All they did was take advantage of the opportunities made available to them here. These opportunities are available to everybody."

Another returning feature of the event this year is a bridge building competition, sponsored by RIDOT, the URITC, and Rhode Island Consulting Engineers (RICE). More than 20 teams will be participating each day, many of which have integrated the event into their curriculum.

Now in its third year, the bridge building competition places a strong emphasis on creativity and design. Each student team is given materials for their balsa wood bridge, and basic specifications. The design choices are up to them. This design-build process – utilizing one team to design and build the job, which shortens the schedule due to concurrent activities – is one RIDOT is embracing on many new projects.

Each student team's bridge will be tested by adding weight until it fails. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third place based on the amount of weight held and the cost of construction. Last year, North Smithfield High School took home the top honors on the first day of the event while on the second day, Block Island School placed first.

Additional Construction Career Day sponsors include Construction Industries of Rhode Island, New England Laborers Tri Funds, Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Rhode Island Public Works Association, Rhode Island Builders Association, Rhode Island Technology Transfer Center and the NorthEast Technicians Training Certification Program.


MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: For an opportunity to interview students from your coverage area, please contact Charles St. Martin at (401) 222-1362 x. 4007 or All media are welcome to have a hands-on experience at Construction Career Days.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 North or South to Exit 7 (West Warwick, Coventry). Follow signs.

Scheduled schools for all activities at Construction Career Days include:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

School District: School

Foster-Glocester Harmony Hill School

Coventry Coventry High School - Transition for Success

Cranston Cranston Area Career & Technical Center Cranston Charter/NELCPS Cranston Transition Program

Cumberland Cumberland High School

East Providence Bay View - St. Mary's Academy Bradley Hospital East Providence High School

Exeter Exeter Job Corps Academy

Burrillville Burrillville High School

Johnston Johnston High School

Newport Newport Area Career & Technical Center

North Kingstown North Kingstown High School

Scituate Scituate High School

North Smithfield North Smithfield High School

North Providence Tri-Town Community Action

Pawtucket Shea High School The Tides School Providence High Road School of Providence Mount Pleasant High School Ocean Tides High School Paul Cuffee High School Metropolitan Regional Career & Tech Center

South Kingstown South Kingstown High School

Warren East Bay Career Academy Our Lady of Fatima High School

Thursday, April 26, 2012

School District: School

Bristol Mount Hope High School

Central Falls Central Falls High School

Coventry Regional Career & Tech Center

Cranston Cornerstone School/Cranston ARC Cranston Charter School Johnston Johnston High School

Lincoln Lincoln High School Transition Program Spurwink School William M. Davies Career & Technical School

Newport The Metropolitan Career & Technical Center

New Shoreham Block Island School

North Providence North Providence HighSchool

Scituate Ponaganset High School

North Smithfield High School North Smithfield

Pawtucket William E. Tolman High School

Providence Goodwill Industries Mount Pleasant High School Providence Career & Technical Academy The College Crusade of Rhode Island The Providence Center School

Seekonk, Mass. South Coast Educational Collaborative

Smithfield Smithfield High School

Tiverton Tiverton High School

Warwick Eleanor Briggs School Warwick Area Career & Tech. Center West Bay Collaborative

Exeter-West Greenwich Exeter-West Greenwich High School

Chariho Chariho Career & Technical Center

Woonsocket Beacon Charter High School

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online:
  • Release date: 04-23-2012

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