Blythe Construction teamed up once again with Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C., to host the second annual STEM Kids Construction Day on Friday, June 14. More than 70 children (ages 4 to 10) registered to participate this year — triple the number from last year. This significant increase in participation reflects just how popular the event has become among the students of Druid Hills Academy. It also suggests greater openness among parents to consider the construction industry as a viable career option for their children.
“The event is really about changing the way children and parents view the construction industry in general,” says Chardonae Ciarletta, Safety and HR Coordinator at Blythe Construction, Inc. Ciarletta helped launch the 2018 STEM Kids program, and was the lead organizer of this year’s event as well.
“For so long, trades such as construction, HVAC, masonry and others have been looked down on,” she explains. “Our goal with STEM Kids is to show that careers in the trades are not only possible, but profitable and rewarding as well.”
Not to mention fun. Starting with breakfast at 7 a.m., and lasting until the 4 p.m. pickup time, the all-day event was packed with hands-on activities developed to encourage problem-solving, creativity, and most important, play. Each activity explored an aspect of construction — from engineering free-standing structures to designing urban infrastructure. Children rotated in groups of 20 among three stations, where they dug sandbox trenches for utility lines, built marshmallow-and-straw scaffolding and implemented traffic plans for model roadways. Between rotations, the group ventured outdoors for field competitions testing their knowledge of construction signals.
STEM Kids is the result of a long-standing and successful partnership between Blythe Construction and Druid Hills Academy, who have formed a close bond through local charity events in Charlotte. This year, the two organizations welcomed Crowder Construction as the first STEM Kids sponsor, with positive results.
“We were thrilled to have Crowder on board this year,” Ciarletta says, “not only because of all that they contributed, but because of what it says about our industry. Construction may be a competitive market, but at the end of the day we share a common goal: to build our communities so that we all can work and thrive together.”
Ciarletta says that plans are already being made to expand the scope of STEM Kids even further. “We want to involve other specialized trades and equipment manufacturers, as well as expand our list of activities to give children the fullest experience possible. Our industry is full of potential career paths, each offering something different and unique. We want the children who participate to experience them all, to see for themselves that the possibilities are endless.”
About Blythe Construction — Blythe Construction has helped grow the Southeast region for close to 100 years by building state-of-the-art roads, bridges, railways, and commercial centers. Their teams have engineered many of the Carolina’s most advanced infrastructure projects, and have completed thousands of private development contracts for the nation’s top building firms. Blythe is committed to improving local communities through active community partnerships.
About Crowder Construction Company — Crowder is a family- and employee-owned business under the leadership of Otis Crowder and W.T. Crowder, Jr., whose family founded the company over 70 years ago. The company has since grown from a small concrete operation serving North and South Carolina, into a major general contractor serving the southeastern United States. Crowder remains dedicated to superior performance, and to making a positive difference for its clients, communities, and the lives of its employees.