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This Clemson program has 100% job placement

Hands-on internships, advisory board of industry leaders attributed to program’s success

Clemson University’s construction science and management degree has a 100 percent job placement rate for recent graduates while many of their peers work in positions beneath their skill level.

The success of the bachelor’s degree program contrasts with a recent analysis that found approximately half of recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree, The College Fix reported.

Faculty and advisors at the public South Carolina university told The Fix every recent graduate of the program is employed within their field of study.

“There are 90 to 100 graduates each year,” Mike Jackson, chair of the Nieri Department of Construction, Development, and Planning, said in a recent phone interview.

Industry experts connected to the program highlighted several components that have led to its 100% job placement rate, including hands-on experience. The department has a three-acre Experiential Learning Yard where students get their hands dirty constructing full-scale structures.

Another crucial aspect is student internships.

“The key is requiring 800 internship hours,” which is “two summers worth of work,” Jackson told The Fix.

The internships are convenient for the students and very hands-on. Joel Davis, president of J. Davis Construction, told The Fix how intricate an internship is with his company.

“We have a J. Davis Bootcamp that we strive to get them through to allow them to be introduced to every phase of the construction process,” Davis, a member of the program’s Industry Advisory Board, said via email recently.

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Jackson said Clemson’s program is “connected with the industry” and hosts “two career fairs every year,” during which “80-100 companies interview the students.”

An industry advisory board made up of professionals in the construction industry also provides mentorship, expert advice, and personal perspectives about how the university can help students succeed.

“A degree in CSM is a very specialized path that prepares students for the real world of contracting,” Paul Mashburn, CEO of Mashburn Construction Company and a member of the advisory board, told The Fix in a recent email.

Prospective students are drawn to the program itself and its perfect job placement rate, but technological and monetary advances also have made general contracting work more appealing, Mashburn said.

“Salaries are on the rise as well so you can make a good living being a contractor and you are doing work that is very gratifying,” he told The Fix. “There are not many professions where one can basically build something that will last for generations.”

Construction science graduates are starting successful careers not only within Clemson and its surrounding areas, but across the nation.

“I would say that less than half [of CSM students] stay in Clemson and the surrounding areas. Contractors from all over the southeast are vying for these candidates and some are enticed to go to places that they never imagined working,” Mashburn told The Fix.

“I love the program, I love the people,” he said.

Davis offered a similar sentiment, telling The Fix, “I want to see the program excel and hire every graduate.”

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IMAGE: Clemson University Nieri Department of Construction, Development, and Planning

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About the Author
Emily Rosecrans -- Clemson University