Cal Poly’s construction management department received a $41,000 grant from the California Contractors State License Board as a result of a 1991 California act designed to better the education of construction management students and maintain the availability of educational programs for the industry.
The department plans to use the money for faculty salaries, research and new curriculum.
This is the third time Cal Poly has received a grant from the Construction Management Education Sponsorship Act (CMESA). The previous grants were given in 2005 and 2006. After allowing time for the fund to build back up, a third round of awards was presented to Cal Poly at the end of January.
Construction management department chair Allan J. Hauck is enthusiastic about the support from the license board.
“This is a demonstration of the importance of supporting education in this state. By bringing people together the license board has created a pool of resources unavailable before,” Hauck said.
Apart from Cal Poly, the act awards grants to each of the six accredited construction management programs in California. The award totals are based on the number of graduates from each university’s construction management program. Qualifying construction programs must lead to a bachelor degree and be accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, or place at least 50 percent of their graduates with California Licensed contractors.
Though Shawn Collins, a contractor at Dave Collins Flooring in Arroyo Grande, doesn’t credit Cal Poly with his education, he said he realizes the importance of a solid construction management education.
“Living and working on the central coast, I thought it was worthwhile to contribute,” Collins said.
The fund was established through contributions like Collins. Current contractors renewing their license contributed most of the funds; the remainder came from newly licensed contractors. From July 2008 to November 2009, the license board received 2,577 contributions.
So far, Cal Poly’s construction management department has received over $130,000 in grants from the license board.
California State University, Chico has received the greatest amount of grants, over $225,000. Over $600,000 in funds has been awarded to the six accredited state schools.
Rick Lopes, chief of public affairs for the license board, works with the committee to oversee the distribution of funds. Lopes was also present when the grant was presented to the department.
“This is a statement about the importance of education – and, in our case, education that leads to better, safer construction,” he said.
Lopes, Chief Deputry Registrar Cindi Christenson and Registrar Steve Sands are Cal Poly alumni.
“We all have strong ties to Cal Poly and have watched closely the development of the construction management department into one of the top programs in California, if not the entire nation,” Lopes said.
When the act was first created, contributions were limited to $25, thus the funds grew slowly. However, in 2003, the legislature removed the $25 limit.
Construction management program coordinator Tana Anastasia noted how important donations are at any level.
“$41,000 is a very generous gift. A lot of attention is given to big donors but equally critical to Cal Poly’s success are the many donors who give smaller amounts,” she said. “The contractor’s gift shows how those smaller gifts create a cumulative amount that will do a great deal of good.”