Sweet Rewards – A Key to Audience Participation at Florida Construction Career Days

Standing in front of crowds of high school students to conduct Learning Labs is one of the most difficult things I do to promote the construction business.

Every year I visit the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) multiple Construction Career Days events, held throughout the state of Florida in an effort to educate students about roles in construction. It’s not easy to make construction jobs sound exciting to high school students, but I found a way. It really came down to one easy solution—candy.

What you ask? That’s right, candy. High school kids love candy. They get excited to read slides about what project engineers and project administrators do and what income they make, and it’s all because of the candy.

I learned this lesson last year when the South Florida Construction Career Days was close to Halloween. Before the event, I stopped by the store to pick up a few bags of candy, hoping it might help student attendance and participation. After the first day, so many students asked intelligent questions that I ended up handing out 10 pounds of candy. That night I went to the store to buy more.

In two days, I handed out roughly 35 pounds of candy.

In two days, I handed out roughly 35 pounds of candy. After the presentations, kids approached me and asked questions like: How do I get into the industry? Where do I start looking? What classes should I take? I truly wasn’t expecting the response I got.

I’d like to think my Learning Lab presentations helped, but let’s be honest, we all know it was the candy. Candy allowed us all to open up, laugh a bit, and have a good time while learning about career opportunities within the construction industry. It helped high school students feel comfortable enough to approach me and ask the questions they really had before moving on to the next presentation.


DominicFiandraProject Administrator Dominic Fiandra conducts Learning Labs for FDOT’s Construction Career Days throughout Florida. He will be at the 2017 Central Florida Construction Career Days on January 26 and 27. For more information on GAI’s Construction Engineering Inspection (CEI) services and careers in CEI, contact Dominic at 407.423.8398.

Dominic Fiandra specializes in CEI and construction project management, with more than 10 years of experience in roadway and bridge construction management. 

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