Texas State University and JE Dunn Construction Prepare Students for the Demands of the Construction Industry
AUSTIN, TX – The current renovation of the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University isn’t just an advancement for the university’s San Marcos campus. It has become an opportunity to build the quality of 25 students at Texas State who will soon enter the construction industry.
JE Dunn Construction and Texas State University launched Build Learn Advance and turned this renovation project into a learning lab during the 2019 spring semester. Following the timing of courses and with the input of faculty, JE Dunn personnel created learning objectives and student participation opportunities that focused on critical areas of construction including safety culture, site planning, owner and trade partner coordination, preconstruction, and lean construction application. See the Build Learn Advance video here.
“We’re only as strong of a program as our relationships with the industry. Our relationships are contingent upon the quality of graduates we are sending out into the workforce today. A program like Build Learn Advance allows students to work and get better at quality aspects for when they graduate,” says Dr. Vivek Sharma, senior lecturer, construction science and management at Texas State University.
JE Dunn Construction began renovations at the Alkek Library in the fall of 2018. Realizing the active jobsite could be a learning opportunity, Build Learn Advance was created to support Texas State’s dedication to excellence and innovation in teaching and to support its goal to be recognized as a national research university.
It also revealed itself to be a solution to help prepare the next generation of construction workers to fill the gap in the industry. As the shortage for construction industry professionals increases in the United States, JE Dunn and Texas State created an opportunity to provide real-world experience with course curriculum.
“Build Learn Advance is a great example of the innovative public-private partnerships taking place in the heart of the Texas Innovation Corridor. Programs like this are preparing tomorrow’s workforce by providing real-world job experiences,” says Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. “A highly skilled workforce is critical to our region’s ability to retain and attract new quality employers.”
The program curriculum is designed to supplement a student’s coursework throughout the semester. This allows students to put their knowledge to practice under the supervision of JE Dunn. Dr. Gary Winek (professor and construction program director), Dr. Chris Smith (professor of practice) and Dr. Asha Hegde (associate professor of lighting and interior design), all of Texas State, actively collaborated to drive the program forward.
“I think Build Learn Advance has been a great stepping stone for students. It has not only added people to their network, it has added to their knowledge base so they can tie-in these real-life experiences sooner rather than later,” said Lauren Aleman, Texas State student and program participant.
About Texas State University
Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 192,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world.
JE Dunn Construction, founded in 1924, is domestic general building contractor in the U.S. with offices in 20 locations. Our vision is to be an indispensable business partner for our clients by first understanding their purpose, goals, and customers and then delivering transformational solutions with certainty of results. We maintain a commitment to our clients and their building goals while being true to our guiding principles—the philosophy of our business operation which is both family and employee-owned.