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The Builders, Burns & McDonnell Celebrate Opening of Career Development & Exploration Center

NORTH KANSAS CITY, MO — The Builders, a chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC), and Burns & McDonnell have teamed up to open the Career Development & Exploration Center (CDEC), an educational and training facility in North Kansas City, Missouri, dedicated to training the next generation of construction professionals and inspiring interest in a career in construction.

“We’re experiencing a construction renaissance, fueled by a massive investment into our infrastructure,” said Matt Ralston, Senior Vice President of Construction at Burns & McDonnell. “The single most important resource we need to accomplish this is people. Above all, we need skilled men and women in our construction trades. Those are the ones that will be safely and successfully building the future state of America.”

According to a recent survey from AGC, 85 percent of construction firms report having open positions they are trying to fill. Among those firms, nearly 90 percent are having trouble filling some of those positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of construction laborers is projected to grow 4 percent a year over the next decade, leading to more than 150,000 openings a year on average.

The 3,300-square-foot CDEC features hands-on exhibits that help mimic real-life scenarios for a career in the construction trades. It also provides practical information about the types of careers available in the trades. Construction safety is a major focus of the CDEC, with exhibits dedicated to the history of construction safety, personal protective equipment, fall protection, and energy isolation safety measures.

The space also includes an 8-foot-by-32-foot industrial training module, fabricated by AZCO, a Burns & McDonnell company. The module includes common structural, electrical, instrumentation, mechanical, and process components and will be used to train early-career professionals on scenarios they would see on a typical jobsite.

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The Builders will make the facility available to its more than 2,000 apprentices who train at the organization’s Education and Training Center in North Kansas City, which houses the CDEC. Burns & McDonnell will bring between 100 and 200 early-career construction professionals to the facility each year from field locations throughout the country as well as its Kansas City headquarters.

Additions to the CDEC are already being planned for 2024.

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