Future Road Builders, developed by the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP) and Etcetera Edutainment (EE), is a virtual pre-apprenticeship program that allows participants to learn about a career in highway construction by interacting with each phase of a virtual construction project. The program was born out of a need to introduce the industry to job seekers as a viable option for a successful career.
The 20-member Board of highway construction industry leaders based in western Pennsylvania wanted a dynamic recruitment tool that not only engaged the user, but also presented an unfamiliar career path in a familiar way.
“The virtual gaming environment is a very effective and consistent way to communicate. It provides visual context for applicants to explore construction careers, and this interactivity effectively promotes the understanding of each job,” says Jessica Trybus, CEO of Etcetera Edutainment.
The result of the Board’s initial idea became Future Road Builders. The program provides exposure to what it is like to work in the highway construction industry and encourages interested participants to apply to the various local union heavy and highway apprenticeship programs.
The featured project involves widening and straightening an existing highway including the construction of a bridge, representative of an actual highway construction project in western Pennsylvania. The player’s goal is to earn 4,000 hours (every 1,000 hours represents one year of apprenticeship) by viewing content related to each stage, and each individual job, of the project. Mini-games focus on a particular job, and get more challenging with each earned apprenticeship year. Upon earning 4,000 hours, the player receives a Certificate of Completion, and is ready to apply for one of several union apprenticeship programs in highway construction.