In July, California Baptist University’s construction management program received accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education, making it the fourth school in Southern California to receive ACCE accreditation.
The newly accredited Bachelor of Science program first began with a cohort of four students and has now grown to a student body of 48 in the six years since its inception. CBU’s construction management program is one of two Christian construction management programs in the nation and the only four-year program of its kind in the Inland Empire.
“We had a very humble beginning and we’ve built it over the years,” said Dr. Francois Jacobs, construction management chair and professor. “This is where we are today.”
Jacobs began at CBU in 2010, when he was hired specifically for the reason of creating a construction management program. The National Association of Home Builders gave $1 million to CBU to help start a program in the Inland Empire, and after running an analysis on other construction management programs in Southern California, Jacobs said he put together a catalog and started recruiting.
“You need to offer something that is comparable to other programs because you cannot build a program so out-of-the-box,” he said. “The industry looks at what they want for their students.”
Part of his job as the chair is to reach out and make connections with organizations so that students can be best served. CBU’s construction management program has established connections with organizations like the NAHB and Associated General Contractors.
“The industry really appreciates what CBU is doing with this program,” Jacobs said. “The AGC has given us an education award for what we have done to recruit high school kids, providing a platform for the future leaders in the industry.”
Dominic Nelson, junior construction management major and president of CBU’S AGC Student Chapter, was in his freshman year at CBU when the first cohort of four students graduated, all of whom had jobs in construction management by the time of graduation. He said Jacobs is the main reason the program is successful .
“There was no worry at least in my mind about whether or not the program would get accredited,” Nelson said. “Dr. Jacobs goes out and does so much for the program and he’s so tenacious in how he goes about doing it. He’s so involved”
Recruitment for the program will continue, along with education for the current students. Jacobs explained the wide variety of opportunity in the field of construction management and that high school students are seeing the value of having a career in the field.
“I think once you sketch that, then they understand,” he said. “Then, we make the promise that when you graduate, you will get a job and that’s important. Parents don’t want to send their kids to college and then they don’t get a job when they graduate, or get a job and they’re underpaid. We try to make that link and I think it worked.”