Career Development Initiative

The MCAA Student Chapter Program brings together well-educated, talented young students as they prepare for careers in the mechanical construction and service industries. MCAA’s Career Development Initiative helps MCAA members connect with these students for internships or full-time employment. One way it does this is through MCAA's GreatFutures website.


Another way MCAA does this is through MCAA’s annual GreatFutures Forum, where students from our 60+ student chapters and MCAA members come together for some fun, education, and most importantly, a chance to meet, network, and cement internship and employment opportunities. The annual Student Chapter Competition takes place at the annual MCAA Convention–take a look!

MCAAGreatFutures Connecting Our Members with the Best and Brightest Students–the Industry’s Future Workforce

MCAA’s career-related website is committed to connecting our members with the best and brightest student who will comprise the industry’s future workforce. Students have uploaded profiles and resumes that are only accessibly by MCAA members. The profiles are searchable by University, desired location, and even a specific skill set an employer is looking for, like BIM or AutoCAD. A keyword filter allows you to zero in on those students who fit the bill.

The website’s newest feature is the job board. MCAA Members have exclusive access to post full-time, co-op or internship openings, and have exclusive access to student chapter members


Adding a Real-World Dimension to Education

MCAA Convention
This annual event is the place to meet prospective interns or employees and see them in action. Stop by the Student Chapter Exhibit to meet potential interns and employees who are ready to interview. Get to know students as you participate in convention programs and activities. Plus, you won’t want to miss our annual Student Chapter Competition!


GreatFutures Forum

Education and networking are on the agenda for this annual event where you can get to know students and assess their abilities. MCAA Members are invited to the annual Job Fair, where the sharpest students will network with prospective employers and discuss internship and full-time employment opportunities. Additional highlights include a tour of a mechanical systems or member facility, networking dinners and a first class featured speaker.


Student Internship Grants
Has your company hired a student intern? You’re encouraged to apply for this $1,000 grant. Did you hire two interns? Good news! You can apply for two grants. By working for member companies, students enhance their education, their professional experience and their interest in the mechanical contracting industry.


Emerging Chapter Grant
New MCAA student chapters, and those that are rebuilding, are encouraged to apply for this $3,000 grant for up to three consecutive years. The funds help the winners with travel expenses, special projects, student scholarships or other costs.


Chapter of Excellence Grant
Well-established, thriving MCAA student chapters are invited to apply for this $7,500 grant, which provides $5,000 for student scholarships, plus $2,500 for operating expenses. The chapter’s faculty advisor selects the scholarship recipients based on a set of established criteria. Winning chapters use the operating funds toward special projects, travel to MCAA events and other program costs.
Faculty Continuing Education Grant

MCAA student chapter faculty advisors who obtain a part-time position or internship with an MCAA member company are encouraged to apply for this grant. By acquiring practical experience in the industry, faculty advisors enhance their classroom instruction and their students’ interest in pursuing a career in our industry.


MCAA Student Chapter Competition

Students put their classroom learning to the test as they create a bid for a real-life mechanical construction project. These projects might incorporate BIM, green requirements, mechanical service or new technologies, to name a few. We provide the drawings, background information, specs and other details; the rest is up to them.Initial judging of the written bid packages yields the “final four” teams, who are invited to present their packages to a panel of judges and an audience of contractors at the MCAA Convention. Want to see a potential intern or new hire at work? This is a great way to see how they perform under pressure!

The winner and other finalists are recognized during a special awards breakfast at the Convention.

Six additional teams receive Certificates of Merit for their work.

Student Chapter Resources

MCAA’s Career Development Committee has created new resources to help student chapter members manage the overall operations, recruitment and successes of a chapter. Click on the links below to download MCAA Student Chapter documents:

Student Chapter Best Practices and Guidelines

Student Chapter Workbook

Student Chapter Recruiting Presentation

Student Scholarships
MCAA offers a variety of scholarships to help offset expenses for the contractors who hire student interns, students and the faculty who teach them. These scholarships are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation.

Caleb Kowalski, a junior at University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and Brooke Scott, a junior at Milwaukee School of Engineering took home The Alan O'Shea Memorial Scholarships sponsored by MCANJ.

MCAA student chapter faculty advisors are invited to nominate students for these scholarships honoring the memory of renowned leaders for their contributions to our industry:

  • $2,500 Foster McCarl, Jr. Memorial Scholarships, funded by MCERF
  • $5,000 Reilly Family Memorial Scholarship, funded by the John W. Danforth Company
  • $5,000 William A. Bianco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, funded by Kinetics
  • $5,000 (2) Ferguson – Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarships, funded by Ferguson
  • $2,500 Josam Endowed Scholarship (each student to receive the scholarship will be eligible to receive $2,500 for three years)
  • $2,500 (2) Alan P. O’ Shea Memorial Scholarships, funded by the MCA of New Jersey


Of Interest

Beyond the Classroom – Learn About MCAA GreatFutures

In this month’s Beyond the Classroom, meet MCAA’s Director, Career Development Harlee Mooney who highlights the unique features and benefits of the MCAA GreatFutures program for both students and MCAA members. Upcoming Beyond the Classroom videos will showcase how MCAA student chapter members and MCAA members alike are benefiting from the program. They will also share the opportunities available to students who choose careers in the mechanical industry.

Molly Sizemore has accepted her second summer internship at Southland Industries, a member of the MCA of Metropolitan Washington. She is a member of the MCA of Central Pennsylvania-sponsored student chapter at Pennsylvania State University, where she studies Architectural Engineering specializing in mechanical systems. She said, “MCAA has definitely created a springboard for me into the mechanical contracting industry, and I’m very excited to continue this journey and get others involved.”

Congratulations to our four finalists for this year’s Student Chapter Competition: Ball State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Missouri-Columbia. You can see the final four teams compete at MCAA2020 on Monday, March 16 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from these students’ insightful approaches to a real-world contracting bid!

Andrew Nguyen has accepted a summer internship with MCA of Metropolitan Washington (MCAMW) member The Bowers Group, also known as W.E. Bowers. Andrew is a junior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, studying Building Construction. He shared that, “…attending The 2019 Great Futures Forum was my first experience with MCAA and my golden ticket into the mechanical contracting industry.”