Career Ready: Alonzo A. Crim & Grady High School Students Explore Careers in Construction Management

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Nearly one dozen career-minded students from Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus and Henry W. Grady high schools traveled to the downtown Atlanta offices of Stevens & Wilkinson and Parrish Construction Group on Oct. 2 as part of a joint, work-based learning partnership designed to help students explore various careers in architecture, engineering and construction management.

Spearheaded by Richard Elder, CTE teacher and work-based learning coordinator at Crim, the daylong field trip was especially designed to promote the growth of the construction market in Georgia while also showcasing the renovation and construction of the former David T. Howard School, which will house nearly 1,400 middle school students in the Grady Cluster when it opens in the fall of 2020.

During their tours of Stevens & Wilkinson and Parrish Construction Group, the 11 students gained knowledge about topics ranging from architectural plans and drawings, to construction and renovation from conception to completion.

Elder said the trip was designed to not only expose students to the myriad of career opportunities available in construction management and architecture and engineering, but to also invite other APS high schools to participate in Crim’s construction work-based learning program.

“There is so much construction happening in Atlanta and the surrounding area, that we wanted to open up the program, especially since the demand is high and there is a need for young people to enter the industry,” Elder said. “This program gives our students an opportunity to get experience and to not just participate in a program where they’ll be doing menial work. It gives them experience with all phases of construction, from working in the field and office to learning about plumbing, electrical and carpentry work.”

While at Stevens & Wilkinson, students learned about the architectural design and concept behind the $52 million renovation and restoration of the David T. Howard Building. Working collaboratively with the Parrish Construction Group, engineers and architects at Stevens & Wilkinson discussed the history of the building, as well as floor plans and artists’ renderings for classrooms, soccer fields, the school cafeteria and media center, as well as a glass bridge overlooking the school’s courtyard.

Students also heard from Trevone Wilson, a recent Crim graduate who is now working as an intern with Parrish Construction Group, all thanks to his participation as a work-based learning student at Crim. Trevone has gained experience working at the Walden Athletic Complex job site under the mentorship of Art Cofelice, director of Field Supervision with Parrish, and is now working on the Howard Middle School – one of Parrish’s most high-profile to date.

“I love it,” said Trevone, who is also studying construction management at Atlanta Technical College. “Since working here, I’ve learned a lot about construction and the history of the (Howard) building.”

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On the final leg of the field trip, students made their way to the site of the new Howard Middle School. During their tour of the sprawling building, students visited the old gymnasium and roamed the same halls as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson and basketball legend Walter Frazier – all famous alumni of the David T. Howard School.

They also engaged with employees who shared advice and encouraged them to consider careers in the construction industry.

That may have been convincing enough for Grady senior Alexandria Burns, who’s considering a career in construction management.

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“I’m not sure what I want to do right now, but this seems pretty interesting,” she said.

Elder said he hopes to enroll 10-15 students from other APS high schools in Crim’s construction program.

“We’re looking to expose students to career readiness, so hopefully this will grab their attention,” he said. “Students can become a foreman, project manager, or even a superintendent. We need young people to fill those spots. The possibilities are endless.”

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