When I Grow Up…

Last year, PCL’s Los Angeles operations contributed their time and building expertise in an effort to inspire young students to pursue construction careers.

PCL project engineer, Thai Nguyen, interviews a
student on her completed project.

Jennette Tardio (right), a PCL project manager,
celebrating another successful year of organizing
the Block Kids Los Angeles event with event

Block Kids, designed for children in grades 1–6, was formed in 1990 by the National Association of Women in Construction. NAWIC’s mission is to raise awareness and promote interest in future careers in construction. Since its inception, over 300,000 girls and boys have participated in annual events nationwide.


PCL employees in Los Angeles partnered with Block Kids, a nationally based program that hosts building challenges in elementary schools. The competition provided students with building blocks, a small rock, string, foil, poster board, and one hour’s time to construct an industry-related structure. Judges from PCL then interviewed the participants on their completed projects and evaluated them according to their presentation, enthusiasm, creativity, use of materials, and attention to detail.
“Igniting a spark for construction careers in kids before high school is crucial,” said Jennette Tardio, a project manager with PCL in Los Angeles. “By the time high school rolls around, a lot of kids have already made up their minds about what they would like to study in college, or careers they will pursue, and don’t consider the construction industry because they have had no exposure to it.”
Tardio organized the most recent block build event, and three PCL employees volunteered as judges. The competition was held at the Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet School, in northeast Los Angeles.


Thai Nguyen, a PCL project engineer, volunteered as a judge at the event and interviewed the students about their final projects. Nguyen said he became instantly hooked on the program.
“I initially volunteered with Block Kids because I wanted to be a part of enlightening kids at a younger age about the building industry,” said Nguyen. “What I didn’t expect was how much fun the event would be. I left last year’s event completely wowed and inspired by the kids’ responses and touching stories.”
Winners of the local event continue on to regional and national competitions. National winners receive cash prizes.
“This is a great program because it presents construction topics to younger kids in a medium that is comfortable, educational, and fun,” said Tardio. “I am proud that PCL could be a part of inspiring young kids to pursue careers in construction.”

 Related Links