Developing our next generation of leaders

An article I recently read about the future of the construction industry grabbed my attention. I found it interesting that although construction employment is strong, a concern exists about who will lead the industry in the coming years, as many construction veterans are facing retirement. The construction industry is currently working with multiple options to bridge the gap to make sure rising leaders are ready and able to take over the reins of leadership. We are fortunate that the concrete industry has a program in place to tap into for new talent with industry-specific knowledge: the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program. This program is a training ground for our future leaders.

CIM is a unique program. As a first-of-its-kind college degree program for concrete construction in the United States, it ensures the industry has a continuous stream of professionals trained in concrete technology and management. Along with being academically prepared, CIM graduates are exposed to the industry from their first semester in the program. The program offers both a four-year Bachelor of Science degree and a customized MBA in Concrete Industry Management. Introduced in 1996 with just two students, the undergraduate program now includes more than 470 students at Middle Tennessee State University, California State University, Chico, Texas State University and New Jersey Institute of Technology. So far, more than 1,250 students have graduated from CIM programs.

How the industry benefits

This program can bring many advantages to the industry. It’s a true partnership between industry and academia. The curriculum was developed and has evolved to meet the specific needs of the industry. The business-intensive program includes a broad range of courses, from finance, marketing, management and business law. Then, there are the concrete-specific courses, which teach the fundamentals of concrete, properties and testing, concrete construction, operations, concrete sales and more.

The curriculum prepares students to become the industry’s next-generation leaders. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, students take part in coordinated research activities that can have lasting effects on the concrete industry. Companies can also use the CIM intern program to fill temporary staffing needs and possibly groom these interns for positions after graduation.

I was excited to read about what the CIM program can do for the future of the concrete industry and I encourage those curious about our industry to pursue this program. Interested in learning more about how the CIM program is helping the concrete industry find our next generation of leaders? Visit their website.