August 2, 2011
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has received a Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) for the AEM Construction Challenge presented by Volvo Construction Equipment. The AEM student-focused workforce initiative promotes greater awareness of construction industry careers and industry contributions to an improved standard of living.
AEM was one of six organizations across the country to receive a Summit Award, with the winners chosen from nearly 100 entries received.
The award is the highest recognition possible from ASAE under its new The Power of A program, which is an ongoing awareness campaign to communicate the important contributions of associations to a stronger America and world. The AEM entry won in The Power to Create a Competitive Workforce category. Entries were judged on program reach, objectives, and outcomes, and how they showcased the power of associations through volunteerism, education, social responsibility, innovation, research, and problem solving.
AEM initiated the Construction Challenge as a response to the severe shortage of qualified workers to meet future construction needs. The competition blends the creative problem-solving methodology of partner Destination ImagiNation (DI) with subject matter from AEM to create a program that engages youth in a fun learning experience and exposes them to careers in the construction industry. At the same time, they learn about the important role of transportation and water infrastructure in economic prosperity and quality of life.
Since the Construction Challenge’s inception in 2008, it has directly engaged more than 11,000 middle and high school students across North America, and the program and its messages have made a global impression on more than 18 million students. It has reached a combined media audience of more than 50 million. Nearly 70 percent of Construction Challenge participants said they are now considering a career in construction.
“The Construction Challenge helps participants better understand how they can ‘make a difference’ through a construction career,” stated David Bannister, AEM workforce development manager. “The program’s regional and state competition format spotlights our industry to students’ communities, schools, teachers, parents, and counselors.”
The 2010-2011 Challenge program took place in regional and state DI tournaments, with winners advancing to the 2011 DI global finals in May. A special championship finals was also held in 2011. Students competed in nine regional rallies across the U.S. and Canada, with the top 24 teams advancing to the finals at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG exposition in March 2011.