March 2011 - For the first time at CONEXPO/CON-AGG, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) will be a sponsor of the Construction Challenge.
In the Construction Challenge, presented at CONEXPO/CON-AGG by Volvo in conjunction with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and Destination ImagiNation, teams of high school students around the country compete to solve infrastructure and design problems using teamwork, creativity and problem solving.The top 24 teams advance to the Championship Finals at CONEXPO/CON-AGG.
“With the average age of the construction worker now 52 years,” said NCCCO President, John M. Kennedy, “there is a clear need to attract new blood into the workforce.”And with the large number of baby boomer retirements, it’s a problem that’s getting worse. “Research indicates that the construction industry needs to add one million jobs by 2012, added Kennedy, “and some of them will need to be crane operators.”This was a main reason NCCCO is taking this opportunity to expose Construction Challenge participants to the opportunities that a career in this industry can provide, he said.
Between 300 and 400 high school students are expected to visit both NCCCO’s indoor booth as well as the Lift Safety Zone, where NCCCO is participating with industry partners, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and the Crane Certification Association of America (CCAA).Students will learn about the roles of crane operators as well as related activities such as riggers and signalpersons from industry veterans, who will be on hand throughout the show.The students will also have the opportunity to witness live demonstrations of crane and aerial lift equipment, and they’ll get to try their hand at a CCO practical exam on simulators provided by Simlog.
“This will also be an important opportunity for potential new entrants to the industry to learn not only about the hazards inherent in construction, but also how to mitigate them through proper training and professional certification,” said NCCCO Executive Director, Graham Brent. “And, of course, we hope they will go away with the idea that this industry—and crane-related activities in particular—might provide them a profitable career path.”
NCCCO is among 19 sponsors of the Construction Challenge, among them Caterpillar, Kobelco, Liebherr, Link-Belt Construction Equipment and Manitowoc.