With the demand for Concrete Industry Management graduates growing, the National Steering Committee (NSC) for the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program announced a great leap forward. This month they announced that South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering will soon offer an educational program degree in CIM.
The agreement between CIM and SDSU was part of the group’s strategic plan to expand he highly respected program beyond the four universities that currently provide more than 100 graduates to the industry each year. The CIM program is a business intensive program that awards students with a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management.
The expansion announcement is the result of a two-year effort by the NSC and the North Central Region patrons. “The concrete industry recognized the need for a CIM program in the Midwest and we worked hard to gain industry support for our effort,” said North Central Region patrons chairman Thor Becken. “Once the decision was made to develop a CIM program in the region, it took two years of planning and gaining industry member support before a search committee began interviewing various universities about potential interest in offering a CIM degree.”
A Nice Geographical Fit
Located in Brookings, SDSU is the state’s largest, most comprehensive higher-education institution. Its well-respected academic programs consistently attract more than 11,000 students from every state and 83 countries. The CIM major will join a robust learning experience of 82 other majors, 35 specializations, 94 minors, 36 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. programs, and two professional doctorates.
The CIM program provides graduates with both technical knowledge and management expertise to be hired into entry- or middle-level management positions. “The goal of CIM is to develop the future leaders of the concrete industry,” said Becken. “This is important because our industry, like many, is aging. Higher-level managers are starting to retire and we’re looking for the next generation of leaders.”
Art Thompson, North Central Region site selection committee chairman, agrees with Becken’s comments. “There were multiple career openings last year for every CIM graduate and now these opportunities are extended to the Midwest. These jobs include substantial starting salaries as well as full complements of benefits. For students who are considering a career in a construction related industry, I would highly encourage them to learn more about the CIM program.”
Another benefit of SDSU’s selection is the opportunity to welcome students from the concrete industry in nearby states. The university has an aggressive recruitment program that allows new first-time and transfer students who are residents of Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado a rate that is equivalent to in-state tuition. For Minnesota residents, tuition costs follow the Minnesota Reciprocity tuition rate that’s established through a negotiated agreement between the South Dakota Board of Regents and the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board.
“We are excited to be selected as the university to fill the needs of the concrete industry, not only in South Dakota, but throughout the entire North Central Region," said SDSU President Barry Dunn. "The program supports our mission as a land-grant university of addressing workforce needs in the communities of South Dakota and beyond. These Jackrabbits will become knowledgeable in concrete technology and techniques, capable of managing people and systems, skilled in technical sales, and expected to advance to industry leadership positions.”
The Beginning of a University-Industry Partnership
The announcement is just the start of the concrete industry’s support. Members of the North Central Region patrons will encourage recruitment and, often, patrons participate in classroom activities with special classroom learning sessions. And patrons provide enrolled students with real-life work experience through internships.
And then there’s the industry’s financial support. The NSC and the NCR patron groups are combining resources to provide approximately $1.5 million to SDSU over five years to develop the degree program and assist in employing a CIM program director, recruiter, and laboratory manager. A portion of the funds have been generated by the annual CIM auction conducted at World of Concrete.
SDSU is also making a strong commitment. “SDSU’s prior experience with public/private partnerships, combined with how the Lohr College of Engineering stresses developing programs that engage industry needs, were critical in our decision making. It was obvious that working with industry is not something new to the university. During our visit to SDSU, it was evident that the president and provost down through the dean and department heads were all-in for establishing a CIM program,” said Eugene Martineau, CIM NSC Executive Director.
“We are pleased to welcome SDSU to the family of CIM universities,” said NSC chairman Michael Schneider. “This partnership will be a great asset to the CIM program and concrete industry. We look forward to a long relationship with this exceptional university.”
A Dynamic Educational Experience
“The CIM degree is a really nice fit for us,” said Teresa Hall, who leads. “If you look at a Venn diagram, you have construction management and operations management and the CIM degree comes up between the two of them, so it works,” Hall said. “While the degree is very focused on a particular material, it’s one that goes hand in hand with construction since concrete is used in virtually every form of construction.”
“SDSU’s Department of Construction and Operations Management is in an interesting place within Lohr College and the School of Design,” said Hall. “We have everything on the design-build continuum. There are a lot of great things happening at SDSU and there is no reason this degree program shouldn’t flourish.”
SDSU faculty and staff are also well connected to the local, state, and region through outreach services and research opportunities focused on infrastructure and construction. They provide support to South Dakota Local Transportation Assistance Program by translatin the latest technology in the areas of highways and bridges into understandable terms for local government entities throughout the state of South Dakota. And South Dakota State University is a member of the Mountain-Plains Consortium is one of 10 competitively selected regional University Transportation Centers Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Want to learn more?
High school students interested in learning more about the SDSU’s Department of Construction and Operations Managements can visit https://www.sdstate.edu/construction-and-operations-management. To learn more about incoming freshman admission requirements visit https://www.sdstate.edu/admissions/freshmen.
The CIM program is the first of its kind in the United States – a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management. The need for such a program was recognized in 1995 and was put into action by the concrete industry. Currently available at Middle Tennessee State Uuniversity, California State University, Chico, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Texas State University, the program has been successful for both the industry and the graduates. To learn more about the program, visit www.concretedegree.com.