The Rhode Island construction industry is a critical economic cornerstone, facing an increasingly sophisticated landscape. The challenge is aligning the industry’s workforce development with a growing need for diversity and cross-disciplinary integration.
Today’s construction professionals, particularly managers, must be proficient within their sectors while simultaneously crossing disciplinary boundaries to lead the creation of resilient structures in this dynamic environment.
Roger Williams University’s School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management is preparing the next generation of construction industry leaders for the jobs of today and tomorrow through our Construction Management program. CM professionals strive to efficiently deliver projects that turn design blueprints into reality while safeguarding quality, cost, safety and timelines, requiring creativity, technical expertise and the ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including clients, building officials, architects and engineers. This multifaceted discipline goes beyond overseeing on-site operations and involves a complex interweaving of different skills and knowledge domains.
To equip students with these skills, RWU’s CM program offers courses in project management, cost estimating, scheduling and planning, surveying, and building information modeling, among others, and an embedded business minor to understand and navigate the commercial aspects of construction projects, a skill vital to today’s construction landscape.
In our state-of-the-art, 27,000-square-foot Richard L. Bready Applied Learning Laboratories, students gain hands-on experience constructing full-scale models in a methods and materials lab with an overhead crane and working with virtual and augmented reality models in a dedicated emerging technologies laboratory.
With an emphasis on practical and technical knowledge, we integrate experiential learning throughout the CM program. Students engage in real-world scenarios through competitions, internships and capstone projects.
This hands-on approach fosters networking and enables graduates to excel in the industry from day one. Shared courses, research and faculty with the Engineering and Computer Science programs and collaboration with RWU’s architecture and law schools are also part of our interdisciplinary educational approach that enables students to work across various professional silos.
At RWU, we know what the industry needs in its workforce because we consult and design our curriculum in collaboration with leading industry partners, including a dedicated CM professional advisory board. This collaborative approach bridges the gap between academia and professional practice, preparing students to thrive in a changing industry landscape and remain current with industry trends.
SECCM also partners with RWU’s University College to serve working professionals looking to make a career change or advance in their current roles. Together, we offer specialized courses and certificate programs in construction management. Targeting workforce demands, these programs enable professionals to enhance skills and apply current industry knowledge, fostering career growth.
RWU’s CM program’s efficacy is demonstrated in our impressive employment record. Over the last decade, more than 98% of our students have secured industry employment within six months of graduation and with increasingly competitive wages. This underscores not only the relevance of RWU’s CM program to the industry’s needs but also its role in preparing students to become the construction industry’s future leaders.
Our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive construction industry aligns with the industry demands for a diversified workforce in an industry traditionally dominated by men. We believe that embracing diversity fosters improved problem-solving and sparks innovation. In our pursuit of gender equity, we’re proud that our full-time faculty in the CM program is nearing a 50% representation of women members. This transformative shift is further bolstered by the work of the Women in Construction student club, which amplifies traditionally underrepresented voices and offers mentorship and networking opportunities.
In essence, we are dedicated to nurturing professionals well-prepared for the industry’s challenges, ready to lead it into the future.
Each student educated, professional trained and industry connection forged at RWU’s CM program leads the way on the “Rhode to Work,” a journey that we are proud to undertake and committed to continue.
Bilge Gökhan Çelik is associate dean of the Roger Williams University School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management. To learn more about RWU’s Construction Management program, visit https://www.rwu.edu/undergraduate/academics/programs/construction-management.