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Construction Engineering Programs Come to Gulf Coast

Date 7-12-06

Contact Shelia White 228.865.4573

Author Jason Sherwood


Gulfport—During the biggest construction boom in Mississippi’s history, the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Construction will provide construction management programs on the coast to help meet the immense building demands.

Two specific programs will be offered by the university this fall, including a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering technology and a master’s degree in logistics management and technology.

“The primary focus of our School of Construction is to meet the market demand, and in the industrial demand for managers there is a huge shortage,” said Desmond Fletcher, director of the university’s School of Construction.

“With the construction management program expanding to the coast, we’re hoping to better facilitate students and working professionals on the coast, to (help them) obtain their degrees or beef up their management skills in construction.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, construction managers and estimators are two of the top 22 fastest growing occupations in the nation, and in Mississippi, the demand continues to grow as “innovative technologies and strategic planning pave the way for new construction developments.” Every year there are more than 100 Mississippi openings for both positions (80 for construction managers and 30 for estimators), according to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Competitive salaries, ranging from $47,000 - $50,000 annually, also make construction management an attractive industry.

The Southern Miss Construction Engineering Technology Program has demonstrated consistent success since its inception in the 1970s. Fletcher says the program is the only dually accredited program in the country, attracting recruiters from some of the top companies in the nation. He says through a strong network of contractors and construction companies, the university provides internship opportunities and places 100 percent of its students into employment.

The program is also revamping some of its instructional venues to better meet the demand for working professionals and military students. Along with its expansion into Gulfport, the school has worked to offer a flexible and accessible class schedule, with nighttime and online courses. The university also boasts the only SOC-NAV approved four-year construction management accredited program in the country, giving U.S. Navy personnel the option of gaining credit hours for their military experience.

“There’s just a tremendous market for this on the coast, and we’ve never come close to meeting the whole demand,” said David Marchman, associate director of the School of Construction.

“We’re just really excited about being down here, real excited about the potential,” Marchman said. “Sometimes it’s location, location, location, and being here amongst all of the work that’s going on is a nice feeling.”

To find out more about the construction engineering programs offered at the University of Southern Mississippi, go to www.usm.edu/construction. For information about enrolling in the construction engineering program on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, contact Celene Mielcarek at 228.342.3471.

July 12, 2006 2:49 PM

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