Forum Education Foundation Presents to Illinois Guidance Counselors

By on December 7, 2018

A panel representing the Construction Forum Education Foundation (CFEF) participated Monday (Dec. 3) in a workshop offering information on careers to guidance counselors from throughout Southwestern Illinois.

At right, Horner & Shifrin’s Justin Schmeltz presents for CFEF. 

The panel, organized by  the Southwestern Illinois Career & Technical Education System, was held at Lewis and Clark Community College’s Nelson Complex in Edwardsville. About 40 persons attended, including high school guidance counselors from  Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, and St. Clair counties

 Topics and groups presenting included:

  • “Building Workforce 2030” – Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois (LCSI)
  • Preparing Kids Today for Tomorrow’s Jobs – Construction Forum Education Foundation
  •    Illinois Army National Guard
  •  Tour of St. Louis Confluence FabLab – Nelson Complex, Lewis & Clark College

The LSCI presentation included an overview of the Council’s efforts by executive director Rhonda Sauget; a presentation on LSCI’s construction industry efforts by Steve Faust, director of business development/diversity for icon Mechanical (Faust is on the Forum’s board); and a presentation by personnel from Scott Airforce Base about careers in cybersecurity.

Carpenters union educators Cathy Cook and Henry Johnson run guidance counselors through their paces on the Carpenters’ virtual welding machine.

Presenting for Construction Forum STL were Cathy Cook, CWI, welding coordinator, St. Louis Carpenters Joint Training Fund; Henry Johnson, curriculum director, Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program; Justin Schmeltz, a structural engineer with Horner & Shifrin and leader of Construction Forum STL’s Young Leaders Group. 

Following a presentation by Tom Finan, Construction Forum executive director, on the CFEF’s approach to workforce pipeline. Cook, Johnson, and Schmeltz presented their own perspectives on workforce needs and barriers to entry for today’s students. 

A question and answer period produced a strong dialogue about the need to connect counselors, parents, and students with information so that they can discover careers they might not otherwise have considered and know what the requirements are to enter those career paths. 


About Tom Finan