May 5, 2011
To help educate students considering careers in the construction industry, John Deere Construction & Forestry sponsored a team from the Bartlett, Ill., High School Academy of Science and Engineering in this year’s Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Construction Challenge. The event, now in its fifth year, was held recently in Las Vegas at ConExpo, the construction industry’s largest trade event.
The Construction Challenge is a career-education initiative designed to help develop the construction workforce of the future by providing real-world experiences that inspire students to explore and pursue careers in the construction industry.
This is the third year John Deere Construction & Forestry has sponsored a team through its C&F Tech Program. The program is a partnership between Deere, its dealers and select community colleges around the country where students can earn a degree and work in a dealership to use the skills they’ve learned. It includes a curriculum that focuses on the specific skill sets and knowledge involved in being a Deere technician.
Before the showdown in Las Vegas, teams of five to seven students, along with an adult team manager, competed at nine regional rallies across the United States. The top 24 teams advanced to the championship finals in Las Vegas.
Through their participation in the competition, all students learned a great deal about the construction industry, and they developed problem-solving and hands-on construction skills in a team environment.
A main component of this year’s challenge was the “Road Rumble.” The goal of this challenge was to design, build and test a piece of transportation equipment to move supplies, employing basic resource management principles. For competitors, the challenge also highlighted the importance of infrastructure.
While competing head to head with another team, the students built a radio-controlled piece of transportation to move building supplies from a supply site to a build site using highway and access roads on the course. They then had to construct a new headquarters building with the building supplies as quickly and efficiently as possible while meeting specifications in the provided schematics.
Also at ConExpo, the students spent time in John Deere’s massive 37,000-square-foot booth, learning how product innovations affect the construction industry.
They learned about the value of customer input in the product development process by experiencing Deere’s Chatterbox, a first-of-its-kind mobile recording studio designed to give customers — and the construction industry — a greater voice.
Bartlett students’ involvement with Deere is almost certain to extend beyond their Las Vegas experience. Continuing their investigation of construction industry opportunities as they consider joining the industry, they plan to tour a Deere factory and other facilities in the coming weeks.