Wake County teachers recently visited Brasfield & Gorrie’s Raleigh, N.C. office and a jobsite as part of the SummerSTEM program. The firm is ranked the No. 1 general contractor in North Carolina by ENR Southeast.
SummerSTEM is a collaboration between WakeEd Partnership, the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), and numerous science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) businesses and organizations in North Carolina. This eight-day professional development program enriches the educators’ understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in STEM careers.
During SummerSTEM, 100 educators from WCPSS schools engage in hands-on experiences designed to bring real-world lessons to the classroom. They spend one week immersed in STEM organizations to experience industry practices and in Wake Technical Community College classrooms to experience college-level applied STEM instruction. Learning continues throughout the year as mentors coach SummerSTEM educators in lesson design and project-based learning.
Brasfield & Gorrie has been involved with Summer STEM for three years, each year immersing the teachers in different STEM careers in the construction industry. This year teachers learned about how the company manages subcontractors, how to read plans and drawings, how to price electrical conduit, and virtual design and construction.
Teams of teachers worked together to see who would come up with the best price for their electrical conduit. As they worked, the teachers learned about STEM opportunities and created ideas for project-based learning curriculum.
“Today’s students are the future of our workforce. Exposing them to careers in construction will be vital to the future success of our industry,” said Vic O’Janpa, Brasfield & Gorrie Regional Preconstruction Director. “Our partnership with WakeEd allows us to demonstrate real-world, tangible ways that we utilize STEM concepts and enables the teachers to take those lessons back into the classroom. Across our company’s footprint, we partner with a variety of programs to help attract and retain new and diverse members of the construction workforce while giving back to our communities.”
In the afternoon, teachers walked to a Brasfield & Gorrie jobsite, where they saw plans and virtual coordination in action. The exercise helped teachers visualize possible STEM career opportunities for their students. Teachers wrapped the day with an ice cream social and an opportunity to speak with everyone in the Brasfield & Gorrie office about their positions and day-to-day work.
When the day ends, the partnership does not. Brasfield & Gorrie stays in contact with the teachers and coaches throughout the year for possible opportunities to go into the teachers’ classrooms and speak with students about possible construction career opportunities.