The electrical contracting industry is aging. Getting young people interested in the field and keeping them interested is a challenge, but one that must be faced to move the industry forward. Recently, Rosendin Electric, an employee-owned electrical contracting firm headquartered in San Jose, Calif., took a hands-on approach to bringing newcomers into the fold.
On May 9, the company hosted students from Desert Hills High School at its Tempe, Ariz., office to introduce them to electrical contracting.
Business development manager Dean Howard was the driving force behind the visit. His inspiration came from a rather unlikely source—the movie, “Spare Parts,” about a group of high school students who beat Massachusetts Institute of Technology students in a robotics competition.
“Spare Parts” is based on the true story of the Carl Hayden High School Robotics Team in Phoenix, and Howard worked with the Arizona Public Works Association to bring the movie premiere to Arizona. When he met the Carl Hayden students, he came to an unfortunate realization.
“I recognized that none of them continued their passion for engineering when they left high school,” Howard said. “I also recognized that there had been no business involvement in the robotics program to assist these students with practical knowledge and providing a path that could take them into a sustainable career in engineering.”
Nine Desert Hills students, participants in the regional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program, toured Rosendin Electric’s facilities and were asked to complete a mock construction project using building information modeling (BIM) systems to model, create parts lists, complete pricing, make bids and more.
“We wanted to demonstrate to the students that the skills they are learning in the STEM program can be applied to real-life work experiences,” Howard said. “Our objective was to take [the student] through an abbreviated project timeline from start to finish. The objective was to demonstrate a project coming in the door for [them] to estimate, model, prefab and deliver to the job site.”
Following the successful visit, Rosendin hopes to offer more programs to local high school students in the future.
“Our biggest effort is to educate students about the trade, the benefits associated with it and matching up the skills they are learning now with the ability to move straight into a vocation that offers a competitive alternative to a college degree,” he said.