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Texas State University

Innovative Partnership Creates Learning-Lab at Texas State University

JE Dunn Construction | April 10, 2019

people at construction site

This spring, students at Texas State University will get real-world training from an active construction site on campus. Texas State University has partnered with JE Dunn Construction to create Build Learn Advance, a training program for students working to obtain a bachelor of science in construction science and management and/or concrete industry management, or interior design.

JE Dunn Construction began renovations at the Alkek Library on the San Marcos Campus in fall 2018. Realizing the active jobsite on campus could be a tremendous learning opportunity, Build Learn Advance was created to support Texas State University’s dedication to excellence and innovation in teaching and to support its goal to be recognized as a national research university. Following the timing of courses and with the input of faculty, JE Dunn personnel created learning objectives and student participation opportunities from the active construction project. The learning objectives include implementing a safety culture, site logistics planning, submittals and RFI coordination, and lean construction. Build Learn Advance includes a total of four on-site learning lab sessions throughout the semester.

As the shortage for skilled trade laborers increases in the United States, JE Dunn and Texas State University created a solution to encourage a young generation of construction workers to fill the gap in the industry. The program curriculum is designed to supplement a student’s coursework throughout the semester. This allows students to put their knowledge to practice under the supervision of JE Dunn mentors and supervisors. The corporate partnership was formed to leverage the potential of young college students and help establish and inspire future college training programs around the country. 

Currently, there are 25 Texas State students enrolled in the program. Dr. Gary Winek (professor and construction program director), Dr. Chris Smith (professor of practice) and Dr. Asha Hegde (associate professor of lighting and interior design), all of Texas State University, have been actively collaborating to drive the program forward. 

Students that pursue a construction career in the Greater San Marcos region (Hays and Caldwell Counties) can expect to earn a competitive salary. According to data from Chmura Economic & Analytics, JobsEQ provided by the Greater San Marcos Partnership, the average annual wage in the Greater San Marcos region is approximately $51,500 for employees in the construction industry. This wage is about 34% higher than the average annual wage for all jobs in the region at $38,261.

Build Learn Advance is a great example of the innovative public-private partnerships taking place in the heart of the Texas Innovation Corridor. Programs like this are preparing tomorrow’s workforce by providing real-world job experiences,” said Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. “A highly skilled workforce is critical to our region’s ability to retain and attract new quality employers.”

Upon completion of the program, participants can apply for two scholarships awarded by JE Dunn Construction. Upcoming learning labs are scheduled for Friday, April 12 and Friday, May 3.

build learn advance logo

JE Dunn Construction, founded in 1924, is domestic general building contractor in the United States with offices in 20 locations. Our vision is to be an indispensable business partner for our clients by first understanding their purpose, goals, and customers and then delivering transformational solutions with certainty of results. We maintain a commitment to our clients and their building goals while being true to our guiding principles — the philosophy of our business operation which is both family and employee-owned. JE Dunn’s purpose is to enrich lives through inspired people and places.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 192,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. 


For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922