October is Careers in Construction Month, an annual event that serves as a platform to highlight the diverse and dynamic world of construction and the professionals who shape our skylines. In a bid to inspire the next generation of construction professionals, ClarkDietrich recently took a proactive step by engaging with students at Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) School of Concrete and Construction Management. The event, part of the “Conversations With ClarkDietrich” series, offered a hands-on look at how ClarkDietrich’s innovative products can revolutionize construction practices and help bridge the labor shortages and skills gaps facing the industry.
A Wall of Opportunity: Building with Steel Framing
The central focus of the event at MTSU was building with steel framing, a technique that has gained prominence for its strength, versatility, resiliency and efficiency in recent years.
Technical Sales Manager Chuck Webb spearheaded a dynamic discussion around ClarkDietrich's steel framing products, offering students insights into the cutting-edge technology and techniques employed in the industry. One of the most captivating parts of the event was when students got to try out the products and techniques themselves. The class was challenged to build a wall from a drawing, applying various ClarkDietrich products to understand their critical role in the construction process.
The array of ClarkDietrich products used for this activity was impressive and showcased the company's commitment to delivering quality solutions. Among the products were:
- ProSTUD® Drywall Framing System: A key component in creating sturdy wall assemblies.
- MaxTrak® Slotted Deflection Track: For superior head-of-wall vertical deflection and the added benefit of horizontal drift movement.
- Spazzer® 9200 Spacing and Bridging Bar: Facilitates the rapid erection of interior, nonstructural studs into a rigid, accurately laid out gridwork that has excellent resistance to stud rotation and displacement.
- RC Deluxe® Resilient Channel: Reducing noise transmission between walls.
- ClarkDietrich Sound Clip™ with Hat Channel: Used to fasten gypsum wallboard in various wall and floor-ceiling applications, while simultaneously providing acoustical separation.
- DanBack® Flexible Wood Backing: A versatile solution for backing and bracing applications.
This diverse range of products demonstrates the myriad ways steel framing can improve building performance. The students had a valuable opportunity to see how these components fit together to create a solid, resilient, and acoustically sound wall. It was an eye-opening experience for many of them, showcasing the intricate nature of the construction industry and the vital role each component plays.
Career Opportunities in Construction
Beyond the interactive session on steel framing, ClarkDietrich also addressed the all-important topic of career opportunities in the construction industry. In a world where countless careers beckon, the MTSU students were exposed to the unique advantages of building a career in construction.
Research shows that 53% of the construction industry will retire by 2036. With the industry already struggling to fill critical skilled positions, students entering the construction trades have the chance to earn high pay and skills, without a lot of debt.
As the construction industry continues to evolve, the need for skilled professionals remains constant. The industry is adapting to meet environmental standards, energy efficiency goals, and technological advancements. Careers in construction have expanded to include roles in sustainable building practices, digital modeling, and project management, offering a diverse and dynamic landscape for those with a passion for innovation and problem-solving.
Careers in Construction Month serves as a reminder that the construction industry is not just about bricks and mortar; it's about building dreams, aspirations, and futures. The collaboration between ClarkDietrich and MTSU exemplifies the commitment of the industry to nurturing the next generation of builders and innovators. With hands-on experiences and exposure to cutting-edge technology, these students are well on their way to contributing to the construction landscape of tomorrow.