Building Industry Leaders: Unleashing Students’ Potential

17 December, 2020

Building Industry Leaders at Texas Boys and Girls Club

While STEAM outreach initiatives are on the rise in high schools across the country, opportunities to learn about civil engineering and the land development industry are still few and far between. In underserved communities, they’re even rarer.

In a majority of these communities, a path to higher education is not so obvious—whether due to financial struggles or lack of guidance. Through the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Building Industry Leaders program, Bohler’s Caleb Jones and Nick Keran are working to change that.

ULI’s Building Industry Leaders program in Dallas-Fort Worth matches ULI volunteers like Caleb and Nick with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas to educate and mentor high schoolers about career opportunities in the commercial real estate industry. The nine-month-long program introduces students to each related discipline. Working together as a team to solve problems, they move through each phase of development using a real-life development project while competing for scholarship money.

To Caleb and Nick, though, it’s about much more than just exposing teens to a new career path; it’s unleashing their potential. Many students are likely to be the first in their family to go to college. Caleb and Nick are passionate about connecting with the students and using the program to build their confidence and sense of accomplishment. Caleb said, “Our message is about helping these kids see what is possible and showing them the path to get there. We help them realize they can be among the next generation of leaders in our industry.”

Another purpose that hits home for our volunteers: encouraging inclusion and diversity within the industry. With a diverse group of students coming from various backgrounds, Caleb and Nick are intentional about providing them with information about scholarships and colleges and universities within their reach that offer civil engineering programs. As Caleb put it, “Students in these circumstances can do anything, but many lack the knowledge of the tools needed to get there. It’s one small way that we can use our expertise and time to give back.”

On why Nick volunteers his time and talents for this cause, he said, “It’s rewarding to be a mentor and guide these students through a difficult situation. To be able to provide confidence and a clear path to success is the ultimate goal of what we do.”

Through the Building Industry Leaders program, Caleb and Nick are making a difference in empowering the students to pursue a career they may have previously thought was unattainable. They’re contributing to the strength and diversity of the industry as a whole, leading the way for the next generation.

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