As part of the Chicago Neighborhood Engineering and Construction Team (C*NECT), Civiltech staff have the privilege of partnering with Embarc, a Chicago non-profit organization that provides community-driven, experience-based learning opportunities to low income high school students to inspire and prepare them for college and career success. Civiltech’s C*NECT staff continued robust student outreach efforts over the course of 2019 and is continuing into 2020, providing classroom experiences and on-site journeys for students from several CPS schools.
In February 2020, Civiltech’s Chicago Office will be hosting Embarc students from Roberto Clemente High School. The students will engage in a bridge building contest, join us for lunch, and then visit Chicago’s 312 River Run Bridge. AECOM’s Nelson Dueck, Resident Engineer on the project, will be our tour guide. The 312 River Run Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bike bridge in Chicago, connecting parks and completing a major link in the city’s trail network.
C*NECT staff joined students from Fenger High School in November of 2019 for a tour of CDOT’s new 41st Street Pedestrian Bridge. Tour guides included the project’s Resident Engineers from H.W. Lochner and TranSystems. After the tour, Civiltech hosted the students in our Chicago office for a bridge building competition. The students constructed bridges that spanned six inches, and the winning structure was determined by the structure’s ability to support a Styrofoam cup holding the largest amount of pennies.
In April of 2019, C*NECT team members accompanied students from Wendell Phillips Academy on a tour of Jardine Water Purification Plant, the largest water filtration plant in the world, located right here in Chicago just north of Navy Pier. The plant filters nearly one billion gallons of Lake Michigan water per day. The students learned about the process from Department of Water Management officials, who led the tour through the control rooms, intakes, filtration basins, underground maze of pipes, and testing laboratories.
Civiltech’s transportation planning staff also participated in an Embarc activity. In January of 2019, the transportation planning team gave an urban planning presentation to a group of Embarc students at Fenger Academy High School. The presentation focused on urban planning as a career path. The students also participated in high-level planning exercises based on identifying problems and solutions with the area around their school.
As we continue into 2020, C*NECT and Embarc have many more exciting and meaningful adventures planned. We look forward to this ongoing relationship and the opportunity to assist students in exploring engineering as a career option through real world experiences.