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Aem Launches 2009 “Construction Challenge” Student Competition

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unemployment is worse than it’s been in years, but in the not-too-distant future, construction companies could be seeking well-trained and motivated workers to fill the millions of jobs related to the manufacture and use of construction and other off-road equipment. High school students across the country now have an opportunity to learn about these careers through the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) Construction Challenge teen competition.

The AEM Construction Challenge, a creative problem solving program in its second year, is introducing students across the country to the skills they could be using on the job site in the coming years as federal and state governments seek to fund badly needed infrastructure projects through an economic stimulus package and other funding mechanisms.

On February 7, 2009 more than 230 student teams will participate in 15 regional qualifying rallies – including one in Toronto – designed to engage teens through a hands-on, educational experience and to introduce them to careers as engineers, equipment technicians and manufacturing professionals.

AEM sponsors the Construction Challenge in partnership with the Destination ImagiNation nonprofit organization. The Challenge offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about available industry careers and how critical off-road equipment is to creating and maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed in Europe and North America as well as by increasing numbers in the developing world.

The February 7 regional rallies are scheduled for Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), Cincinnati (OH), Dallas (TX), Denver (CO), Kansas City (MO), Milwaukee (WI), Minneapolis (MN), Enid (OK), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), Sacramento (CA), Seattle (WA), and Toronto (ON).

Even before the renewed focus on rebuilding infrastructure, the construction industry was concerned about meeting the demand for trained workers as a large portion of its current workforce enters retirement. With the federal stimulus plan designed to add even more jobs, the industry hopes to encourage young people to pursue jobs in construction.

“The Construction Challenge was created as a platform to educate students and the public about rewarding, interesting and lucrative career opportunities. We want to attract even more young people to help solve our problems with innovative and creative ideas,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “While our nation’s leaders are planning for the creation of millions of jobs, we are focused on what we can do to help develop this growing skilled workforce.”

Students who participate in the Construction Challenge rallies will learn about careers related to the equipment manufacturing industry, which includes more than 2,000 companies manufacturing, selling or operating equipment. -more-

“The success of the stimulus package, the rebuilding of our infrastructure and the training of millions of workers will be directly related to the success of future generations of Americans,” said Slater. “The Construction Challenge is one way our industry is helping prepare and invest in that future. We also hope everyone has a little fun and gets inspired along the way.”

For more information about the Construction Challenge visit www.constructionchallenge.org. For more information on the regional qualifying competition locations and contacts, click on the site’s Regional Rally button at top of home page and then Rally Sites.

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