Construction Union Using Video Games to Interest Kids in Apprenticeship

By on October 11, 2018

From Trib Total Media:  Pittsburgh’s low unemployment rate and pending retirements have prompted a local construction union to come up with a creative way to recruit candidates for the union’s apprenticeship program.

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 partnered with Simcoach Games, based in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, to develop free game apps that simulate operating heavy machinery as tools for educating and recruiting school kids.

The gaming company developed “Dig in: An Excavator Game” and “Dig In: A Dozer Game” for the union. They introduced their first game, “Hook: A Tower Crane Game” a little over a year ago.

“We’re trying to educate kids who are in middle school and maybe even a little earlier just to let people, and especially the kids, know there are good, long lasting careers in the construction industry,” said Jim Kunz, Local 66’s business manager. “We realized that we had to find other ways to communicate with the generation that doesn’t communicate in the ways that we used to in the past.”

The games are available as free downloads in app stores.

Players move dirt, dig holes and make lifts using their thumbs to control the “joy sticks” through varying levels of proficiency and difficulty. They also receive messages connecting them to real life apprenticeship opportunities.

With construction booming in the region, union locals are advertising on television, radio and social media in an attempt to attract candidates, according to industry officials.

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