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Addressing Global Development Challenges through Construction Education

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Global and Cultural Issues in Construction

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.131.1 - 25.131.11



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Paper Authors


Carla Lopez Del Puerto Colorado State University Orcid 16x16

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Carla Lopez del Puerto, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of construction management at Colorado State University, where her main research areas are construction safety management and international construction. She is the principal investigator on a $800,000 grant funded by USAID to develop and implement a green construction training program for youth at risk in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Jonathan Weston Elliott Colorado State University

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Jon Elliott has a master’s degree in construction management from Colorado State University (CSU) and is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in education and construction management. Prior to graduate school, Elliott worked in construction project management for an ENR Top 100 general contractor in Washington, D.C., USA. For the past four years, Elliott has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Construction Management, teaching estimating courses. For the 2009-2011 academic years, Elliott was promoted to Primary Instructor and given full responsibility for the Estimating 2 course. In addition, he has taught several lectures in scheduling for CSU’s construction certificate program at the Denver, Colo., campus and is an Estimating 1 instructor during the summer session at the main campus in Fort Collins, Colo., USA. Elliott received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, which is awarded based on student nominations, four consecutive years (2007-2011). Upon graduation, Elliott plans to pursue a faculty position at an American Council of Construction Education-accredited construction management program.

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María de Jesús Torres Universidad Iberoamericana Tijuana

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Addressing Global Development Challenges through Construction EducationConflict, chaos, environmental degradation, and humanitarian crises correlate with a lack ofeconomic prosperity and social development. People turn to crime, drugs and other social acts ofdegradation after losing hope and confidence for a better life for themselves and their children.Lack of education and employment opportunities in developing countries increases the risk forinvolvement in illicit activities. It is therefore important to provide youth at risk with the skillsnecessary to secure gainful employment and resist involvement in illicit activities.The construction industry, which is a significant contributor to the gross national product of theUnited States and many developing countries, holds the potential to employ many adequatelytrained working through the creation of small and medium sized businesses. Improving businessskills and hands-on learning in construction processes can result in significant benefits fordeveloping countries and youth at risk in terms of their everyday lives. Teaching students how totransform ideas, relationships, and collaborations into action plans can result in new businessventures that can stimulate economic development as well as steer graduates away from crime,drugs and other social acts of degradation. Careers in the construction industry can open doors toyouth at-risk giving them hope and confidence in a better life.This paper explores the role of construction education and humanitarian organizationpartnerships as an agent for positive change in the developing world. These partnership have thepotential to not only improve education and employment opportunities for youth at risk indeveloping countries but also to create more robust programs for construction education in theUnited States. Construction education programs in developing countries can positively affect theprogram participants and their families as well as the target community of the host country. Foran individual education program participant, the skills and training provided can allow forsustained employment and a lawful option (when unlawful options are prevalent) for gaining theincome needed to support a family. Sustained employment creates local small businessopportunities and allows the program participants to train and employ other at risk individuals intheir local communities. As individuals begin to prosper, their quality of life increases and theyare able to provide their families with opportunities that would not be possible in the previousstate of poverty. Individual prosperity leads to economic growth within the host community.Aside from the primary objective of improving local communities and addressing globaldevelopment challenges, construction education programs in the United States that develop andimplement these programs realize benefits. The faculty and staff members who participate in thetraining are directly exposed to global perspectives and diversity in education. In turn,construction education faculty and trainers return to their educational institution with newknowledge and research topics to benefit the international community. In the classroom,participating faculty impart their experience and divers knowledge on their students, creatingmore robust education and globally minded students. This paper concludes withrecommendations to construction education programs and faculty who are interested in usingtheir knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life in the developing world.

Lopez Del Puerto, C., & Elliott, J. W., & Torres, M. D. J. (2012, June), Addressing Global Development Challenges through Construction Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20891

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