College and industry collaboration leads to newly approved bachelor’s degree focused on rising careers in engineering and construction

Students at Georgia Highlands College (GHC) will now have access to an affordable bachelor’s degree in building information modeling management (BIMM) starting spring 2022 after recent final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The recently approved bachelor’s degree was designed in collaboration with engineering and construction industry leaders.

GHC worked with construction technology firm Trimble to design curriculum for the program. Additionally, Trimble also donated Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) software and technology to the program for use.

Through another partnership with SDS2, a software design company focused on construction modeling, architecture, engineering and construction software and technology have been donated for a new learning lab. The lab features cutting-edge technology for modeling 3D steel detailing.

“Building information modeling is our most current and most advanced design, construction and facility management approach. It brings information and technology together to produce a digital representation of a project which integrates and quickly examines data from several sources,” Instructor of BIM Management Maria Holt said. “Today, BIM practices are critical because they facilitate the involvement of an entire project team, enabling the team to coordinate all information in clear and accessible ways. BIM’s comprehensive data integration capabilities allow a project to evolve parallel with the physical project across its duration. Technologies that enable this practice give users a solid framework to improve communication and data exchange across the industries involved.”

BIM is the technology-driven process for estimating, creating and managing information and visuals on a construction project. A building information model represents a 3D version of every aspect of the project, from facade to foundation to structural steel.

As a part of GHC’s collaboration with industry leaders, GHC will offer training on various software platforms at no additional cost to the students through its learning lab. Graduates will also complete their degree with several sought-after industry certificates, such as the SDS2 Estimator Certification which teaches model-based estimating for realistic cost expectations.

A ribbon cutting for the new learning lab was held late June and the name of the lab was unveiled as the “SDS2 Learning Lab” in honor of the company’s generous contribution.

“Our BIM management program at GHC is paramount in providing students with the foundation to succeed in their professions in the architectural, engineering, fabrication, and overall construction sectors,” Holt said. “Because BIM implementation requires a constant shift toward new tools and software change, those looking for a career in this industry will help set the ground for contributing to the implementation of evolving construction techniques and innovations among the different roles within a project team.”

GHC’s new bachelor’s degree has been featured by Construction Dive, a leading industry publication, and the ConTech Crew podcast for its fresh approach to rising careers.

Additionally, Forbes noted that GHC is helping to “solve the construction labor shortage through ingenuity.”

“Because BIM is the world’s most advanced approach to the construction process, a career in BIM opens doors for a variety of opportunities in different ramifications of the construction industry, such as steel detailing, BIM /VDC management, and estimating, among many others,” Holt said.