Building Foundations typographic title

Effort to include construction education in primary school


t’s a process that has been years in the making: Associated General Contractors, or AGC, of Alaska members on the Education, Training, and Workforce Development committee want to build construction-related education into Alaska school curriculum. They want industry to partner with educators to help students learn more and, hopefully, spark an interest in construction-related jobs.

Matt Ketchum with K&H Construction and Heather Sottosanti with Big State Mechanical, both members of the Education committee’s task force aimed at getting construction curriculum into schools, along with AGC of Alaska staff, hosted two Industry + Educator mixers this spring. They sought to build relationships with Career and Technical Education, or CTE, teachers and district staff members; get feedback from them about the needs of the CTE Construction Pathway program both in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough; and learn how the industry can best support CTE construction education.

At the mixer in Mat-Su, held April 20 at the Palmer Alehouse, discussion starters were posted around the room and educators were invited to add sticky-notes with their response to the question. Another mixer was held in Anchorage the following day at the AGC of Alaska Anchorage office.

Seven individuals are standing near each other in an open dining tavern area at the AGC of Alaska mixer in Mat-Su, held April 20 at the Palmer Alehouse
Two small placard questions are on a wall with three responding answer sticky notes on both of the placard questions
One small placard question on a wall with three responding answer sticky notes below the placard
A woman examines a placard question on the wall as she has a pen in her right hand and a nearby plastic cup filled with liquid inside plus an orange sticky note ready to respond with an answer to the placard question
Asked if industry-led demonstrations or hands-on projects would be of interest to their class, three sticky notes answered “Yes”, some in large, bolded letters. Asked what their top three priorities for funding would be, if they were able to obtain financial support from the construction industry, two teachers said materials, equipment, and training are always top of mind. Two teachers suggested the training might take the shape of externships for their students.

Most of the teachers responding taught CTE classes. Also on hand at the Palmer event was Trish Zugg, the CTE coordinator for the Mat-Su Borough School District. Zugg holds the key to introducing construction-related curriculum into Mat-Su classrooms. She invited CIPF leaders, Education, Training and Workforce Development task force members, or any other AGC members interested to plan a site visit and get more acquainted with what already exists within the district but encouraged their interest.

The Industry + Educator mixers were sponsored by Mass X, Knik Construction, GHEMM, DAMA Industrial, Cruz Construction, STG Pacific, and BC Excavating.

Photos provided by AGC of Alaska.