Skip to main content

ODOT and Partners Build Students’ Interest in Construction

Saturday, September 26, 2015

ODOT and Partners Build Students’ Interest in Construction


September 25, 2015

PR# 15-042

            High school students this month learned more about future career opportunities in the construction industry by getting hands-on experience. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation Civil Rights Division, in partnership with several industry leaders, hosted aConstruction Career Day for students in the Oklahoma City metro area, while another group of students visited ODOT’s headquarters to test concrete Friday.

This year’s 14thannual Construction Career Day, called “Tools to Build Your Future” offered hands-on activities with construction equipment and opportunities for more than 250 high school students to talk with industry leaders about jobs in construction-related fields. This year’s event included more than 40 construction companies, materials suppliers and industry partners. Students from Oklahoma City Public Schools and a local technology center attended.

Students were able to operate machinery, climb electrical poles, try their hand at virtual welding and visit with industry leaders in construction and engineering.

The construction industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers. If not addressed, the shortage will impact the industry’s quality, safety and ability to build the infrastructure needed to meet the demands of a growing population. While many students may not have ever considered a career in construction, the industry offers competitive wages and a variety of employment opportunities for high school graduates.

“This event has been a huge success due to all our industry partners, the Oklahoma City public school system and all the volunteers,” Jenny Chong, ODOT Civil Right Division Head, said. “The event offers the chance to educate students about opportunities in the transportation and construction industry and helps with employment skills while underscoring the importance of furthering their education.”

The students are specifically selected by their instructors because of their interest in construction. Students wanting to attend the event next year should talk with their teachers and reach out to the Civil Rights Division at ODOT, 405-521-3186.

This event was sponsored by ODOT, Oklahoma State University – OKC, OKC Public Schools, Association of General Contracts – Heavy Highway, AGC – Building Chapter, Asphalt Pavers Association and the Oklahoma Concrete Paving Association.

Meanwhile, more than 30 students from Francis Tuttle’s Pre-Engineering Academy visited ODOT’s Central Office with their concrete test cylinders to see if they got the right mixture of rock, cement and water to make a strong enough material for a road bed or a bridge deck.

Students got to apply real-world experience to their classroom knowledge by watching their cylinders withstand a pressure test inside ODOT’s compressive break machine in the Materials Division.

Morgan Oathout, a senior at Putnam City West, said her team’s first cylinder attempt was an immediate failure and crumbled as they pulled it out of its casing. She was hopeful their second attempt would be more successful.

“This one came out a lot prettier,” she said. “We were more careful in our materials and used more concrete this time. We learned that we needed to do more research before just throwing things in the bucket.”

Jim Bollman, Francis Tuttle Pre-Engineering Academy instructor, said students start learning about concrete at the beginning of the year because it’s the foundation for most structural work that they will be tasked with in their careers.

(Editors and News Directors: For questions, please call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)

Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
Back to Top