Engineering, Architecture, and Construction Career Conference: “Learning Today … Building Atlanta Tomorrow”

Earlier this month, more than 150 enthusiastic APS students attended the 2009 Engineering, Architecture, and Construction Career Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center.  Sponsored by the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department of the Office of High Schools, the primary purpose of the conference was to motivate students to achieve at higher levels while still in high school. 

The conference also was designed to expand the students’ understanding of various careers and post-secondary options available to them through engineering, architecture and construction. Students listened intently as industry professionals shared their educational background and career experiences. Attendees also had the opportunity to put theory to practice by participating in hands-on building activities.

Participating schools included Frederick Douglass High School, Maynard H. Jackson Academy of Engineering/Early College, South Atlanta School of Computer Animation and Design (CAD),  Therrell School of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science (STEMS), Benjamin E. Mays High and Crim Open Campus.

The opening keynote address was made by successful business entrepreneur, Oscar Harris, president and CEO of Turner Associates Architects & Planners. Breakout sessions featured a wide range of dynamic professionals from Georgia Power, Holder Construction, Museum of Design Atlanta, Turner Construction, and Execute Your Passion, a human-resources training organization.  Representatives from Atlanta Metropolitan College and Atlanta Technical College were on hand to explain the various educational options available to students interested in these careers. Georgia Institute of Technology also was represented at the conference.

Breaking the mold of traditional career fairs and conferences, the students also participated in one of five competitions where they were challenged to build mousetrap cars, bridges, towers, or complete a skills relay race. Winning teams were recognized in the closing session.

Student feedback through a survey indicated that the event was a huge success! When asked how the presentation could have been better, several students responded, “It could not have been any better. It was very informative.” 

According to Dr. Patricia Ford, interim director for CTE: “Career and Technical Education supports the district’s goals for high schools by preparing all students for college and careers. Events like this help students see themselves as successful professionals.”

Terrolyn Perry-Ponder of the Department of Learning Excellence, who attended the conference, praised the effort: “I enjoyed the career conference very much! The level of presentation detail was great, and the content was most relevant to the participants. The students were engaged and participated appropriately. Overall, the conference was well organized and well paced. It showed tremendous leadership by the Office of High Schools, Career and Technical Education, to assemble a brilliant group of minds, to share expertise and lessons learned. Congratulations on a very successful and informative career conference!”

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