If you’ve ever been to the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, you’ve likely been impressed by the beautiful view, the facilities and the staff, and the great kids who visit and learn there. What likely didn’t impress you was the parking lot. A breeding ground for cracks and potholes, it has needed repair for a long time. Parking lot repair means repaving with asphalt, and that means a very large bill. It was more money than supporters could come up with — until now.
Thanks to a new partner, the next time you visit the center, you will drive on new pavement in the parking lot. Member-companies of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana (APAI), including most of the major players in the business, joined forces to repave the entire parking lot in one day. And they educated more than 150 ag students about the possibility of a new career in the process.
“We were thrilled to be able to put a career fair together so that kids could come and learn and watch the parking lot be paved,” says Lisa Chaudion, executive director of the Indiana FFA Foundation. “We not only got a new parking lot, but the students learned about a career path at the same time.”
Weeks of planning went into the event, Chaudion says. Volunteers from colleges and trade schools participated, along with numerous volunteers from companies who belong to APAI. Students spent time talking with representatives from various schools, listening to human resource specialists within the industry explain what they look for in employees and watching the paving process, with knowledgeable volunteers explaining what was happening as they watched.
APAI is interested in the partnership because it needs new workers to replace an aging workforce and fill new jobs created by the large amount for road work underway in Indiana. Passage of the roads bill a year ago opened a large amount of money for much-needed road work in the state, officials say.
“They’re interested in ag students because they know farm and rural kids have a good work ethic and know what hard work is all about,” Chaudion says. “It should be a natural fit.”
Check out the slideshow to see photos from the day.