Today’s buildings industry professionals and tradespeople make use of a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, including building information modeling (BIM), computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), smart controls, and renewable energy systems (such as solar photovoltaics and wind) to deliver high-performance buildings. Yet, finding such skilled professionals is increasingly becoming a challenge for many sectors in the building industry.
The current buildings-related workforce in the United States is aging; the retirement of a significant number of industry professionals is imminent; and other fields already are competing for today’s capable students. The need to reach out and educate the next generation of professionals is becoming increasingly imperative.
With that in mind, the National Institute of Building Sciences and its Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Education Program has rolled out a new Building Sciences Career Center on the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide® to help inspire high school students to become interested in a career in the building industry.
The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began developing the Building Sciences Career Center to support the Mars City Facility Operations (Ops) Challenge, which serves to familiarize students with buildings, building systems, and Mars. The Mars Ops Challenge uses an introductory curriculum that puts students in charge of operating a virtual base on Mars using the same software tools that facility managers currently use in the field. The Mars City Facility Ops Challenge team developed the Building Sciences Career Center to introduce students to potential career opportunities in the building industry.
The Building Sciences Career Center features interviews with a dozen industry professionals who represent various disciplines from across the industry, and offers materials and planning tools to assist students in identifying a pathway for education and employment in the industry.
Both the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge and the Building Sciences Career Center will feature prominently at the National Institute of Building Sciences booth during the USA Science and Engineering Festival, to be held April 16-17 in Washington, D.C.