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MTSU concrete program is building lucrative career...

MTSU concrete program is building lucrative careers for grads

Students graduating from MTSU’s Concrete Industry Management department had much to celebrate after finals last week.

Nineteen seniors completed their semester-ending capstone project presentations Wednesday, Dec. 9. They graduated Dec. 12 in Murphy Center.

MTSU graduating senior Ykeem Wells, 23, of Columbus, Ga., makes his capstone presentation to complete his final semester as a Concrete Industry Management major Dec. 9 in the Voorhies Engineering Technology Building. Wells, who will make a $52,000 starting salary with Preferred Materials in Bonita Springs, Fla., is a member of the Blue Raiders football team. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU graduating senior Ykeem Wells, 23, of Columbus, Georgia, makes his capstone presentation to complete his final semester as a Concrete Industry Management major Dec. 9 in the Voorhies Engineering Technology Building. Wells will begin working with  Preferred Materials in Bonita Springs, Florida. He also is a member of the Blue Raiders football team. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Fourteen of 19 grads will have a starting salary averaging nearly $53,500 — about $8,100 more than an MTSU concrete graduate’s average starting salary of $45,347. The remaining five grads are mulling offers.

The first and one of only four such programs nationwide, Concrete Industry Management is one of MTSU’s signature offerings.

CIM MTSU graphic croppedIt is a joint initiative between MTSU and industry leaders, providing opportunities to enter a broad field that has a need for skilled professionals.

MTSU was the first university to integrate technical education in concrete with business and communication skills needed to advance in the industry.

“It’s been exciting to see these offers,” said MTSU CIM chair Heather Brown. “Employers have been making high offers because of competition — there are more jobs than students — so they have had a multitude of offers.”

Ykeem Wells is a 6-foot, 258-pound reserve defensive end for the MTSU Blue Raiders football team. He’s excited about the team’s upcoming game against Western Michigan in the Dec. 24 Bahamas Bowl, but his post-college career is something to cheer about as well: he’ll start work with Preferred Materials of Bonita Springs, Florida.

MTSU graduating seniors Jacob Cope, left, and Brad Brown, right, discuss accepting new job offers with MTSU alumnus Jonathan Holmes before making Concrete Industry Management capstone presentations Dec. 9 in the Voorhies Engineering Technology Building. Cope, 22, of Greeneville, Tenn., took a $62,000 offer to work at Ready Mix USA in Decatur, Ala. Brown, 23, accepted a $50,000 offer to work for Wayne Davis Concrete outside of Atlanta. Holmes is a general contractor with Messer Construction in Nashville.

MTSU graduating seniors Jacob Cope, left, and Brad Brown, right, discuss accepting new job offers with MTSU alumnus Jonathan Holmes before making Concrete Industry Management capstone presentations Dec. 9 in the Voorhies Engineering Technology Building. Cope, 22, of Greeneville, Tennessee, was among 19 CIM grads Dec. 12. Brown, 23, accepted an offer to work for Wayne Davis Concrete outside Atlanta. Holmes is a general contractor with Messer Construction in Nashville.

“I was pretty excited about the offer,” said Wells, who is from Columbus, Georgia. He added that the CIM program has “blessed me a lot. It allowed me to get a job.”

Brown said it was the first time in her tenure that a student who was flying home from a job interview received a job offer via text message.

Two graduating female students, Morgan Corlew of Nashville and Caitlin McClure of Lilburn, Georgia, accepted offers before graduation.

Corlew will work for Kiewit in Denver, Colorado. A former starting pitcher in softball, McClure will join Argos in Atlanta.

Several students found jobs in the Midstate, but most landed work out of state. Positions included sales, estimating, project engineer, operations and quality control.

More than 30 employers, many from outside Tennessee, recruited MTSU students this semester. In recent years, the MTSU CIM department has maintained an 89 percent employment rate within three months after graduation.

“This is an excellent time for students to choose CIM as a major,” said Jason Crabtree, the CIM lab manager. “Employers are hungry for graduates and are competing to hire upcoming graduates.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.mtsu.edu/programs/concrete-industry or call 615-494-7658.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)


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