I’m finally at an age where I think my children will actually be paying for my father’s day gift. The kids have always been good about coming with fun ways to enjoy Father’s Day. We have been to baseball game, picnic, and concerts. But I also felt a little sense of trepidation, as the kids knew they were still on a family subsidy.
This year is different. All three are gainfully employed. And more importantly they are making headway on reducing their college loan debt. And I can sense their pride, knowing they’re in control of this weekend’s plans and bills.
It’s tough for young graduates. Many are living at home, working underpaying jobs, and looking out for new opportunities. I’m thankful my son listened to me and opted to earn a degree in Concrete Industry Management at Middle Tennessee State University. When he enrolled, MTSU hosted the only CIM program. Since then three other institutions have elected to offer the degree. Now there are about 400 students enrolled, with about 75-80 graduates forecasted for next year.
There’s some good and some bad in these numbers. Every 2014 graduate has a job in the industry at about a $45,000 starting salary. The bad news is that there were about 25-30 positions unfilled. And as the economy improves, our industry could easily absorb more than three times the number of our projected graduates each year.
The success of the program has also some good news. In a recent survey of past CIM graduates, more than 80% are still working in the Concrete Industry. This sticking rate is outstanding given the problem construction has in drawing young talented folks.
Even with these great numbers, CIM still has a recognition challenge. In a recent survey of key concrete industry executives, a surprisingly large percentage were not aware of the Concrete Industry management Program. It’s no surprise that our CIM schools need students now!!!
The National Steering Committee has done a remarkable job in providing support for facilities, faculty and curriculum. There are scholarships going unawarded. And just as important, we need to start filling the classrooms to receive more support from the schools themselves. Most current students have transferred into the CIM from other on-campus programs. So we need to urge our industry associates to send more students.
So as you share the joy of your families this weekend, look for the sibling who is entering that important junior year of high school, and ask them to consider a chance of a lifetime – a career in the Concrete industry. It’s the quickest way to that free family meal.