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Scoping the future, PCI Foundation steps up student outreach

Sources: Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Foundation, Chicago; CP staff

“Our mission is to impact the future of the built environment while promoting the use of precast concrete. We are partnering with bright young minds to push the boundaries of precast design and construction to do what has never been done before,” says PCI Foundation Executive Director Marty McIntyre, outlining 2019-2020 initiatives. 

“The approach our foundation partners use to reach students has put our industry on the leading edge of higher education learning trends. Integrated learning among various departments and schools, learning by doing, and positive community relations have all been part of successful PCI Foundation programs, in architecture, engineering or construction management.” 

A new interactive website, www.PCI-Foundation.org, is geared to the precast community as well as students and educators in universities who teach architecture, construction management, engineering and bridge courses. Visitors can focus directly on their individual interests, download forms, observe fundraising and grant support progress, or contribute to open dialogue in the forum section.

Teaching NextGen students the benefits and modern options of precast is assured as the PCI Foundation expands curriculum development funding to major universities and colleges, McIntyre notes. In 2019-2020, at least 13 university programs will receive funding for multi-year and cross-department programs. New schools are continually being added to the roster, with about eight currently preparing grant applications. Grant criteria and opportunities are posted under the ‘educators’ tab on the new website.

The PCI Foundation is continuing the Project Precast Competition following a well-subscribed debut earlier this year. The design challenge that brings college and university students together with industry mentors and has been selected as an ongoing event. The next competition will be in March 2020 in Ft. Worth, Texas, in conjunction with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute annual convention at The Precast Show. Information, forms and deadlines for the 2020 Project Precast are posted on the new website.

At the root of the new initiatives is an expanded communications campaign to keep the PCI Foundation audiences aware and engaged. They include an e-newsletter covering group activities and ways educators, students and the precast industry can stay engaged and participate in the success of the Foundation. A social media strategy calls for posting of video content and images across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn platforms. Current and former students in PCI Foundation-supported programs can connect with the industry through the site, through the forums or by submitting a guest blog about their experiences during or after their precast program. Jobs and internships will also be listed on the site.