June 24, 2020

Unprecedented times call for creative measures as DPR Construction teams across the country restructured their Community Initiatives (CI) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although community service looks a little different these days, DPR’s ongoing commitment to building possibilities for the under-resourced remains consistent when shifting youth education programming from in-person to virtual. 

Discussing Opportunities for Homeless Youth in Seattle

In March, DPR’s Seattle office hosted an online educational event for students enrolled in YouthCare's YouthBuild program. YouthCare offers a wide range of services to support Seattle's homeless youth, while also offering employment training and educational opportunities, such as the YouthBuild pre-apprenticeship program. YouthBuild allows students to explore the various career options available within the construction industry and gave DPR leaders the chance to offer guidance as they answered student questions about job responsibilities and career paths.

In a virtual format, DPR volunteers from a variety of professions, including project engineering, estimating, and field supervision, shared career advice and hosted a presentation about DPR and general contracting, followed by a Q&A with the students.

"YouthBuild works tirelessly to empower students through educational guidance and technical skill development. We hope the wide range of careers and opportunities available with or without a four-year degree inspires the YouthCare students to pursue construction,” said Brianna Lance, DPR’s event panelist.

Seattle CI Virtual Event Welcome Screenshot
DPR’s Seattle office hosted an online educational event for students enrolled in YouthCare's YouthBuild program. Photo courtesy of DPR Employee

Sacramento Students Explore Careers in Construction

In April, the DPR’s Sacramento office hosted a “Careers in Construction” webinar for students from Mira Loma and Natomas High Schools involved with local organization Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT). IYT serves young men of color and enrolls students as early as 7th grade, with the option of remaining in the program up until their college graduation.

This webinar gave DPR's group of panelists the opportunity to share their own professional development journeys with the students, answering any questions they may have. To showcase the breadth of career options within the construction industry, each panelist specialized in different jobsite roles and responsibilities.

IYT’s Event Manager, Alina Sanchez, said, “The students had an eye-opening experience regarding the different avenues one can take in the construction industry, and loved learning about the DPR team’s career journeys.”

DPR Teaches 3D Modeling to South Florida Youth

In May, DPR gave the students of The Milagro Center a crash course in 3D modeling software with a “SketchUp Training” webinar. The Milagro Center is a nonprofit organization that strives to ensure the social and academic success of underserved children and teens ages K-12 in the Delray Beach community.

DPR’s Zach Thompson, who acts as one of the company’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) leaders, joined other DPR volunteers to lead the virtual workshop on 3D modeling. Thompson helped students download the free version of the SketchUp software, taught a beginner tutorial on how to use the program, and offered technical support throughout the remote event.

The webinar’s facilitators helped open a up a wide range of learning possibilities for The Milagro Center’s students, as this was the first time they had been exposed to a software with SketchUp’s capabilities.

SketchUp 3D Model Screenshot
DPR’s Zach Thompson led the virtual workshop on 3D modeling with SketchUp software. Photo courtesy of DPR Employee

Ft. Lauderdale Teens Take a Virtual Jobsite Tour

DPR Ft. Lauderdale hosted a virtual “Career Exploration” event in April for middle school students enrolled with HANDY, a local organization that supports disadvantaged youth. HANDY offers an array of customized educational, personal development and economic self-sufficiency programs for youth and adults, ages 9-25.

During the webinar, DPR’s hosts shared their day-to-day job responsibilities, details about the construction industry, and answered questions regarding DPR’s community outreach and its involvement with healthcare projects during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the hosts was working remotely from a South Beach jobsite trailer, giving HANDY’s students the opportunity to go on a “live” tour of the project site.

Lina Nageondelestang, DPR’s event organizer, said: “The students enjoyed catching a glimpse of a jobsite, which under normal circumstances they would not have been able to, due to the project’s location.” Nageondelestang shared that DPR will continue to host more virtual initiatives with HANDY in the future to continue inspiring the next generation of builders.