Tarlton , BJC, and Tech are Thinking Beyond Today
“Gloves….we know we can have a 77% reduction in problems if our workers have their gloves on…” said Kem Mosley, center manager for the Tarlton and BJC Career Resource Center, as he walked a group of North Tech construction students across the rough terrain toward their viewing location for the morning. Our students had arrived to watch a concrete pour, one of the many demanding and highly coordinated projects occurring daily on the site of the future Siteman Cancer Center at Christian Hospital’s northwest campus where the Career Resource Center is located. Mosley, a former guidance counselor and the founder of Mosley Construction, shared numerous tips and pieces of advice with them throughout the visit. He is no stranger to mentoring young people and encouraging them to think beyond today.
As a projected national shortage in skilled trades persists and the looming retirement of upwards of 50% of that workforce quickly approaches, regional companies are working with educators to provide real career exploration opportunities to St. Louis area high school students. The mission of the Tarlton/BJC Career Resource Center is to provide information to both students and community agencies on career opportunities in both construction and healthcare and aid in the recruitment of young people to those fields. “We want to support this industry as a whole,” said Roslyn Croft, Diversity Manager for Tarlton Corporation. Croft works with Mosley and Charles Henson, Diversity Manager for Planning, Design, Construction, and Real Estate for BJC to coordinate visits and activities for the center. Their collaborative efforts aim to provide students with a full understanding of what they can expect from the in-demand, highly skilled, and competitively compensated careers available in union construction trades and support building a pipeline of prepared and engaged future employees. The team was recently recognized at the Construction Forum St. Louis’ Building Tomorrow awards for their efforts in support of developing a more diverse skilled trade workforce.
Sally Difani, Professional Career Counselor for students at North & South Tech, has been very pleased with the experiences the center is providing our students. “They are taking a comprehensive approach,” she said, “and the feedback from our teachers has been very positive. They really feel like these experiences have benefitted our students.” Our instructors have been bringing students to the site throughout the fall, strategically planning which programs will visit dependent on the activities and demonstrations being offered.
The center uses both technology and real world experiences to provide an immersive and engaging experience for visitors. A typical program day at the career resource center begins with an introduction and review of rules and safety requirements. On most visits, a representative from one of the many trade unions who are working on the Siteman project will address the visitors and share information about opportunities specific to their trade. When applicable, BJC representatives also share information – work safety and emergency response information for construction students and healthcare profession information for students exploring medical careers. Students then participate in breakout sessions utilizing various simulations and activities offered via the center’s kiosks and iPad stations. Finally, students gear up in personal protective equipment and head onto the job site for demonstrations (Tarlton provides PPE to visitors who don’t have their own – North and South Tech students bring their own gear).
North and South Tech students are building real world skills on our campuses every day, but the support of industry partners like Tarlton and BJC enhances our programs tremendously. On site immersions allow our students to see themselves in the fields they are exploring, to be part of the sites and sounds of a large scale construction site, and to observe as the skills they are learning create the infrastructure they experience daily. Students hear directly from those who work in the industry and those employees offer support, mentorship and praise. The Career Resource Center sponsors’ eagerness to welcome students into their industry is evident in this project. The center is open by appointment only one morning each week. On the third Saturday morning of each month, guests are welcome and students are encouraged to return with their families. The center will be closed through December, but will reopen on January 8, 2019 and remain so through April 23, 2019.
Videos of Croft and Henson discussing their effort can be found in this Building Tomorrow Awards article from the Construction Form website: https://www.constructforstl.org/construction-forum-awards-program-celebrates-builders-of-the-region/.
For more information, contact Roslyn Croft at RYCroft@tarltoncorp.com, 314.633.3326, Charles Henson at Charles.Henson@bjc.org, 314.477.2812 or Kem Mosley, BeyondToday@tarltoncorp.com, 314.755.1126.