Anyone who works in the rental industry knows it involves warehousing, equipment servicing and manufacturing design, but the uninitiated middle school students on the Construction Challenge team sponsored by the American Rental Association (ARA) learned firsthand how exciting it could be to meet challenges in those areas.
ARA’s team from St. Therese School in Kansas City, Mo., competed against 14 other middle school teams at the Construction Challenge finals, which took place May 20-23, 2009, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in conjunction with Destination ImagiNation, the Construction Challenge offered these middle school teams, as well as 30 high school teams, the opportunity to compete in the following areas:
- Infrastructure — PR Campaign. The teams created and presented public relations campaigns to create awareness of various infrastructure issues, as well as offering solutions for resolving them.
- Manufacturing Design — Free Flow. Students used remote-controlled equipment they had built to direct hundreds of gallons of water.
- Service Tech — Piling it On! The teams used self-built, forklift-like equipment to move and stack boxes. The challenge also involved one repair of the team’s own equipment and one repair of another team’s machinery.
“Going against another team was fun for them, as well as being able to see other teams’ solutions to the same challenge,” says Sara McDonald, the St. Therese science teacher who served as the manager of the ARA team.
Their hard work paid off. Team ARA came in second in the infrastructure challenge, which garnered them $50 gift certificates and a trophy, and placed fourth overall. They also learned about ARA and the equipment rental industry.
“The ARA sponsorship was phenomenal,” McDonald says. “Learning about ARA was a really beneficial experience for the kids.”
In addition to the team sponsorship, ARA set up a booth at the Construction Challenge Sponsor Expo, providing fun activities to draw attention to careers in rental.
“We encouraged the students to consider the equipment rental industry when searching for a career, informed them what opportunities exist and showed them how to access more information by going to ARA’s Rental Careers Web site, www.RentalCareers.com,” says Carla Brozick, ARA’s director of training and education.
According to Brozick, this is a great opportunity to share the career possibilities offered by the equipment rental industry with these students who are just beginning to think about career choices. “Many of these students don’t know about our industry. By participating and sharing information, we put rental on the career radar. Many students ask a lot of questions and are intrigued about this industry that they had little knowledge of before attending this event,” she says.