The Turner School of Construction—Building Future Leaders in Construction Management

The Turner School of Construction—Building Future Leaders in Construction Management Main Photo

8 Jan 2024

Fourteen Wilmington, DE, construction managers completed the Turner School of Construction Management in November, joining approximately 30,000 graduates over its 50 years of esteemed history. While each student has years of expertise in construction, the Turner School is based on the fact that running a business requires a very different set of skills. 

“The goal of the program is to prepare graduates to successfully increase the capacity of their company and be competitive in the commercial construction market,” said liaison Rodney Davis of the Turner Construction Company. 

Sights set on business growth 

The Turner School is not a typical trade school. It serves established professional contractors,  often from underserved communities, who hope to expand their headcount and capacity. Every course in this national program teaches a different curriculum, but the most common courses target business acumen. Safety, Insurance and Bonding, Business Development, Estimation, Procurement, Compliance, and Human Capital Management appear in most classes’ syllabi. Education is the key to expanding companies’ employment offerings, which can boost the city’s job market and positively impact the community, said Davis. 

“Our hope is that each of the graduates is better able to grow capacity and partner with Turner Construction Company on future projects,” he said. “Hopefully, the graduates will also be able to partner with the City of Wilmington on current or future opportunities.” 

A Legacy of Success 

One previous graduate, Elaine Johnson, spoke at the 2023 graduation ceremony to share her journey as leader of a female- and minority-owned construction company. Since her graduation in 2022, Johnson expanded LaPutt Enterprise’s carpentry operations from Philadelphia, PA, and has successfully expanded her operations to Pittsburgh, PA, and Atlanta, GA, thanks in part to lessons learned in her time with Turner.  

The Turner School’s Future in Wilmington 

Davis said the City of Wilmington fully supported the program and the students, setting the stage for continued participation. Turner’s future courses will target subjects that may not be available in apprenticeship programs or trade schools. Davis believes Virtual Design and Construction and Building Information Modeling are virtual tools that will become a requirement because they improve efficiency and productivity. These virtual tools represent a building’s functional, structural, and aesthetic attributes in a visual digital environment, which makes them perfect for proof of concepts and presentation. 

The Turner School will teach these software tools in future classes, which will open again in the fall of 2024. Classes have no set number of participants, and future class size depends on pre-qualifications and applicants. 

Building Up Wilmington’s Construction Community 

Turner Construction Company’s advice continues after graduation. Educators encourage students to pre-qualify as Turner partners to pursue collaboration opportunities, partner with local governments, or expand their operations into other cities. The program targets diverse students and voices and welcomes instructors with equally varied perspectives.

“Companies can refer potential participants to the program, sponsor training by providing meals for the participants, or even contribute subject matter experts to teach a specific lesson,” said Davis. 

The Office of Economic Development in Wlimington (OED) is committed to ensuring a diversified local economy for the City by promoting and developing industry and initiating programs to increase job opportunities for residents of the City of Wilmington. Learn more about the Turner School of Construction Management here or contact the OED at (302) 576-2120, by email or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.