A statewide chapter of a construction industry professionals organization has established a new endowed scholarship fund at Western Carolina University that will provide financial assistance to students from North Carolina studying construction management.
The North Carolina Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America recently made gifts totaling $26,000 that will generate annual scholarship support for selected WCU construction management majors beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, with preference given to students demonstrating significant financial need.
The contributions creating the CMAA-NC Leaders in Construction Endowed Scholarship Fund at WCU stem from an introductory phone call between representatives of the state chapter’s board of directors and construction management faculty members who responded with immediate enthusiasm in developing a partnership with the association, said Jordan Holt, state chapter president.
“Western Carolina University has long held a reputation for the strength of its construction management program,” Holt said. “Many on our board of directors have worked with or hired WCU graduates and have been impressed by the talent this university has prepared for our industry. Our board of directors discussed many factors and felt strongly that the WCU was the clear choice for this endowment.”
By funding scholarships for students in the construction management program, the CMAA’s North Carolina chapter is trying to help ensure a deep pool of talent of future industry professionals, Holt said.
“Talent is critical,” she said. “Our industry is a tremendous economic driver and employs more than 10 million people in the United States alone. We have to feed that talent pipeline. Our board of directors feels supporting construction management students across the state of North Carolina – both financially and through educational and networking opportunities – is an opportunity for our organization to have a meaningful impact on the future of our industry.”
CMAA-NC has previously established endowments at Wake Tech Community College, East Carolina University and North Carolina A&T State University and has provided $1,000 scholarships for several years to each of those institutions and to NC State University.
Those financial contributions are in keeping with the association’s mission of promoting the profession of construction management and the use of qualified construction managers on projects and programs, Holt said. “We believe in supporting area students, as they are our future workforce and succession within the industry,” she said.
Contributions toward student scholarships will have a larger impact at WCU than at most other institutions of higher education because the university is part of the NC Promise program, said Bruce Gehrig, director of WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management. Through additional state funding provided to NC Promise to WCU and three other participating schools in the University of North Carolina System, North Carolina residents pay only $500 per semester for tuition.
“Considering the NC Promise tuition rates, this scholarship will be sufficient to cover one entire year of tuition for the recipient,” Gehrig said. “This is significant, as most of our students are first-generation students who have to work to pay for their schooling.”
The financial support of WCU’s construction management program by CMAA-NC also highlights the important role that professional organizations can play in developing the state’s construction industry workforce by investing in future generations of construction professionals, said Gehrig.
“It is important to remember that professional organizations are just collectives of individual members, and such endowed gifts are only possible from the combined donations of many individuals and companies from across the North Carolina construction industry,” he said. “So, this gift is a reflection of a larger industry support for our construction management program at Western Carolina University.”
The Construction Management Association of America is an industry association dedicated to the practice of professional construction management. CMAA represents more than 16,000 members including federal, state and local government and private sector owners, construction consultants, technology suppliers, academia and legal organizations with a common goal of to improving the nation's infrastructure.
Headquartered in Raleigh, the association’s North Carolina chapter supports the advancement of the construction industry in the state, with more than 250 members including contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, design professionals, consultants, owners and others.