The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) criticized universities with construction management programs during the mid-1980s for graduating students with minimal knowledge of the industry and little experience with on-site construction. In other words, students were not prepared upon graduation to be productive employees of the industry.
We knew we needed to improve our own college recruiting methods and had to be more direct and disciplined about the quality of students accepted into our internship program. Giving minority and female architectural and engineering students a competitive edge in the job market was also of primary importance. In response to these concerns, the LEAPS summer internship program was officially launched in 1984.
Barton Malow developed a program following the structure of Purdue University’s program – but with a few differences. Our goal was to have each student participate in the program for three summers of meaningful work experiences. The first summer would focus on field experience, working directly on a project site with the superintendent, project engineer and project manager. Year two would consist of experience in the main office, including estimating and accounting. Finally, third year students would have a choice to gain additional experience in the field or office with greater responsibilities.
We realized early on that the program was missing a component of the corporate environment – the “business” side of the industry, including profit & loss, human resources, overhead, marketing, etc. To remedy this, Barton Malow’s officers were encouraged to include their interns in various meetings to help them better understand the business as a whole, which proved to be an invaluable learning experience.
The lack of technology in the early days of the program made communication quite challenging, so group sessions, both educational and fun, were added. The interns began seeing that Barton Malow valued the personal development of the student as well as the professional.
Homework also became a part the LEAPS program. Developed from university Capstone programs, the idea was for students to study a problem or area of opportunity within Barton Malow or the construction industry in general and enlist experienced Barton Malow employees, as well as subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, etc., to help develop a solution.
It was decided that each Barton Malow office would recruit from regional schools, developing a comparable program with the same principles and guidelines. Over time, all participating students were provided the opportunity to gain experience in geographic locales outside their hometown or university area.
This all led to today’s LEAPS – a program that continues to grow and evolve. We eliminated the “weekly report” in 2007 and introduced Student Blogs. Each student is required to document their tasks and accomplishments on a weekly basis, which is viewable by all Barton Malow employees.
Students are encouraged to apply to the LEAPS program if they meet the following requirements:
- Architectural, Civil Engineering or Construction Management major
- Grade point average of 3.0 or higher
- Interest in pursuing a career in the construction industry
Ultimately, the goal of any student internship is to provide a meaningful experience to enhance the value of the student’s classroom education. Through the LEAPS program, Barton Malow has a history of making our interns employable. Interns who perform well are invited back to the program each summer and by the time they graduate, he or she will have experiences and exposure from several aspects in the construction industry that typically take years to gain.
Barton Malow continues to recruit the highest quality students from the top Universities across the country.
Are you ready to “Build Your Career” in construction education with Barton Malow? Contact us today!