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E Creating and Cultivating the Next Generation of Construction Professionals Jeffrey S. Russell, P.E., Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chair, American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice Abstract: In todayâs global marketplace, how does one compete? Whether the competitive arena is real estate development, Internet sales, or construction-related activity, todayâs world stage is greatly reduced in size from what it once was. Today, competitors are right around the corner, and new strategies are urgently needed to strongly position the U.S. construction industry for success now and in the future. The challenges are many, and among them is the need for more knowledgeable workers. In addition, the construction industry needs to elevate and enhance its educational programs to develop better-prepared professionals at all levels to respond to a complex, challenging world. The purpose of this paper is to help improve the competitive profile of the U.S. construction and engineering industries through four strategies: 1. To describe a holistic, systems view of civil engineering education. 2. To articulate a new vision for civil engineering. 3. To discuss how educators are reforming engineering education. 4. To advocate greater inclusion of paraprofessionals and engineering technicians within the workforce. The objectives of these four strategies are to enhance the recruitment potential of careers in the engineering and construction industries and to effectively prepare a new generation of engineers through educational reforms. COMPETITION IN A GLOBAL MARKET The U.S. construction industry faces challenges unlike those facing any other profession and unlike those at any other time in its history. It is challenge built of competition: competition among firms for projects; competition for available, yet dwindling natural resources; competition for talent to fill needed positions throughout the industry. It is unacceptable to adopt an attitude of âbusiness as usualâ in the face of such unrelenting, global competition. Just how robust is competition in the construction sector? In the spring of 2008, Forbes (2008) announced its âGlobal 2000â list of public companies with the highest scores based on sales, profits, assets, and market value. In the words of the Forbes authors, today it is âone world, one gigantic marketplace.â Overall, U.S. companies still dominate the Global 2000 list, but with 61 fewer entries than in the prior year and 153 fewer than in 2004, as many U.S. firms failed to keep pace with global competitors. By 95
96 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY comparison, Brazil, China, and India rapidly added companies to the list. As an example, India has 48 companies listed this year, compared to 27 in 2004. In the list of construction companies identified as global top performers, U.S. firms are few and far between. The top-performing U.S.-based construction firm, according to Forbes, is Fluor Corporation, with $16.69 billion in annual sales. Yet, Fluor sits in 21st place on the global list, followed by five French-based firms, five firms based in Spain, and those in China, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and Switzerland. In all, the Forbes report listed 78 top performers in the global capital construction sector. Of those, just 13 were U.S.-based companies (Forbes, 2008). Interestingly, the Forbes report contained no listings for companies in the âEngineeringâ industrial category. While this author believes that this is an omission, the undeniable point of the Forbes Global 2000 is this: one of the brutal facts facing the construction and engineering industries is formidable global competition. Competition in construction is more than just among firms. It is also a fact of life, and increasingly so, in resource availability. Many natural resources that the construction industry depends on are increasingly limited or expensive. Oil, water, copper, and most other feedstocks vital to construction are experiencing price volatility, in part driven by fundamental shifts in long-term supply and demand. Traditionally, the means, methods, and fundamental premises of construction have been based on the assumption that all required resources will be abundant. The industry is learning that this premise is changing rapidly, with potentially severe limits to growth. Issues revolving around resource availability and various environmental stressors are ubiquitous phenomena that are appearing in all economic systems, regardless of political ideology (Pearce and Turner, 1990). What is new is the rate at which modern societies consume resources. âHumankind has consumed more aluminum, copper, iron and steel, phosphate rock, diamonds, sulfur, coal, oil, natural gas, and even sand and gravel during the past century than all earlier centuries together. Moreover, the pace continues to accelerate, so that today the world annually produces and consumes nearly all mineral commodities at record ratesâ (Tilton, 2002). Those of us in the engineering and construction industries must be prepared with a broader and deeper vision that embraces the challenges and complexities of our modern world. In the following sections of this paper, the author discusses the following topics: â¢ How the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) views the global market and the civil engineer of 2025. â¢ How ASCE and other professional associations are modifying education and early-work experiences to build stronger, better-prepared professionals. â¢ How professional organizations and trade associations are striving to recruit young people into careers in engineering and construction. â¢ How to involve construction professionals. VISION FOR THE FUTURE1 In June 2006, under the leadership of ASCE, a diverse group of civil engineering and other leaders, including international participants, gathered to articulate an aspirational global vision for the future of civil engineering at the Summit on the Future of the Civil Engineering Profession in 2025. Summit participants envisioned a different world for civil engineers in 2025. An ever-increasing global population that is shifting even more to urban areas will require widespread adoption of sustainability. Demands for energy, transportation, drinking water, clean air, and safe waste disposal will drive 1 Please note that much of the material in the section entitled âVision for the Futureâ has been extracted from The Vision of Civil Engineering in 2025 (ASCE, 2007).
APPENDIX D 97 environmental protection and infrastructure development. Society will face increased threats from natural events, accidents, and perhaps other causes such as terrorism. Informed by the preceding, a global visionâVision 2025âwas published in 2007. It sees civil engineers entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the quality of life. Civil engineers will do this competently, collaboratively, and ethically as master builders, environmental stewards, innovators and integrators, managers of risk and uncertainty, and leaders in shaping public policy. Summit organizers and participants intended that Vision 2025 would guide policies, plans, processes, and progress within the civil engineering community and beyond, including around the globe. Individual civil engineers and leaders of civil engineering organizations should act to move the civil engineering profession toward the vision. The summit of June 2006 produced a series of aspirational visions stimulated by participant views of the world of 2025. The resulting integrated global aspirational vision is as follows: Entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life, civil engineers serve competently, collaboratively, and ethically as master: â¢ Planners, designers, constructors, and operators of societyâs economic and social engine, the built environment; â¢ Stewards of the natural environment and its resources; â¢ Innovators and integrators of ideas and technology across the public, private, and academic sectors; â¢ Managers of risk and uncertainty caused by natural events, accidents, and other threats; and â¢ Leaders in discussions and decisions shaping public environmental and infrastructure policy. (ASCE, 2006). As used in the vision, âmasterâ means to possess widely recognized and valued knowledge and skills and other attributes acquired as a result of education, experience, and achievement. Individuals within a profession who have these characteristics are willing and able to serve society by helping solve problems, helping shape solutions to contemporary problems, and helping prevent problems, creating a more viable future. The Civil Engineer of 2025 The ASCEâs 2006 Summit on the Future of the Civil Engineering Profession in 2025 addressed this question: What could civil engineers be doing in 2025? Addressing this second question naturally led to describing the profile of the 2025 civil engineer, that is, the attributes possessed or exhibited by the individual civil engineer of 2025 consistent with the preceding aspirational vision for the profession. âAttributesâ may be defined as desirable knowledge, skills, and attitudes. As used here, knowledge is largely cognitive, as opposed to affective or psychomotor, and consists of theories, principles, and fundamentals. Examples are geometry, calculus, vectors, momentum, friction, stress and strain, fluid mechanics, energy, continuity, and variability. In contrast, âskillsâ refer to the ability to do tasks. Examples are using a spreadsheet; continuous learning; problem solving; critical, global, integrative/system, and creative thinking; teamwork; communication; and self-assessment. Formal education is the primary source of knowledge as defined here, whereas skills are developed through formal education, focused training, and certain on-the-job experiences. Attitudes reflect an individualâs values and determine how he or she âseesâ the world, not in terms of sight, but in terms of perceiving, interpreting, and approaching. Examples of attitudes conducive
98 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY to effective professional practice are commitment, curiosity, honesty, integrity, objectivity, optimism, sensitivity, thoroughness, and tolerance. The 2006 summit identified many and varied attributes, organized into the preceding knowledge, skills, and attitudes categories. The results are presented here. â¢ The civil engineer is knowledgeable. He or she understands the theories, principles, and/or fundamentals of: âMathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, mechanics, and materials, which are the foundation of engineering; âDesign of structures, facilities, and systems; âRisk/uncertainty, such as risk identification, data-based and knowledge-based types, and probability and statistics; âSustainability, including social, economic, and physical dimensions; âPublic policy and administration, including elements such as the political process, laws and regulations, and funding mechanisms; âBusiness basics, such as legal forms of ownership, profit, income statements and balance sheets, decision or engineering economics, and marketing; âSocial sciences, including economics, history, and sociology; and âEthical behavior, including client confidentiality, codes of ethics within and outside of engineering societies, anticorruption and the differences between legal requirements and ethical expectations, and the professionâs responsibility to hold paramount public health, safety, and welfare. â¢ The civil engineer is skillful. He or she knows how to do the following: âApply basic engineering tools such as statistical analysis, computer models, design codes and standards, and project monitoring methods; âLearn about, assess, and master new technology to enhance individual and organizational effectiveness and efficiency; âCommunicate with technical and nontechnical audiences, convincingly and with passion, by listening, speaking, writing, mathematics, and visuals; âCollaborate on intradisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and multidisciplinary traditional and virtual teams; âManage tasks, projects, and programs so as to provide expected deliverables while satisfying budget, schedule, and other constraints; âLead by formulating and articulating environmental, infrastructure, and other improvements and build consensus by practicing inclusiveness, empathy, compassion, persuasiveness, patience, and critical thinking. â¢ The civil engineer embraces attitudes conducive to effective professional practice. He or she exhibits the following: âCreativity and entrepreneurship that lead to the proactive identification of possibilities and opportunities and taking action to develop them; âCommitment to ethics, personal and organizational goals, and worthy teams and organizations; âCuriosity, which is a basis for continued learning, fresh approaches, the development of new technology or innovative applications of existing technology, and new endeavors; âHonesty and integrity, that is, telling the truth and keeping oneâs word; âOptimism in the face of challenges and setbacks, recognizing the power inherent in vision, commitment, planning, persistence, flexibility, and teamwork;
APPENDIX D 99 âRespect for and tolerance of the rights, values, views, property, possessions, and sensitivities of others; and âThoroughness and self-discipline in keeping with the public health, safety, and welfare implications of most engineering projects and the high degree of interdependence within project teams and between such teams and their stakeholders. Many of the preceding attributes are shared with other professions. Civil engineeringâs uniqueness is revealed in how the attributes enable the profession to do what it does and, more importantly, to become what it wants to be. This is inherent in the global aspirational vision. Those of us who pursue our careers in engineering or construction know the power that lies in the professionâhow a blending of technical skills with imagination, ingenuity, and maybe a little intuition can produce remarkable achievements in meeting the needs of society. EDUCATIONAL PREPARATION FOR THE ENGINEERING PROFESSIONAL OF TOMORROW2 The National Academy of Engineering has defined attributes of 2020 engineers (NAE, 2004). Besides the traditional and essential strong analytic and communication abilities, additional needed attributes include practical ingenuity, creativity, business and management fundamentals, leadership ability, agility, resilience, and lifelong learning. As a concrete example of what is being done to provide these new broader attributes, consider the 24 outcomes within the ASCE (2008b) Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK). In addition to maintaining or strengthening mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering sciences and achieving greater technical depth, the BOK explicitly and clearly calls for broader exposure to the humanities and social sciences and additional breadth of professional practice. This broader knowledge and these broader skills and attitudes are clearly defined. Furthermore, some of these outcomes have already been reflected in accreditation criteria. More importantly, some engineering programs are implementing the broader and deeper BOK based on its merits. Most engineering students and engineer interns respond to what is expected and supported. By and large, the industry has, by virtue of traditional engineering education and the way it manages a graduateâs early experience, expected too little, and practiced poor stewardship. The reform effort now under way in portions of the U.S. engineering profession is solving this problem by expecting and supporting much more, that is, by âraising that barâ during formal education and early experience. Reformation of U.S. engineering education has been studied and discussed for decades. Seeley (2005) identifies âthe main currents in various reform movements.â He describes the gradual evolution of engineering education beginning with adoption of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862; that act established land grant schools that shifted the dominant pattern of âengineering education from shop floors to classrooms.â He cites key studies, including the Wickenden report that recommended less hands- on specialization and more attention to mathematics and science (Wickenden, 1930). The Grinter report stressed the value of engineering science and led to much more fundamental research (Grinter, 1956). The controversial Walker report (1965), according to Seeley (2005), âproposed addressing overloaded curricula by instituting a generalized undergraduate degree and reserving specialization for the masterâs level.â While improvements have occurred in engineering education, they have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. These improvements fall short of reform. For example, at the end of his essay, Seeley (2005) offers this summary: 2 Please note that much of the material in the section entitled âEducational Preparation for the Engineering Professional of Tomorrowâ has been extracted from the second edition of the American Society of Civil Engineerâs Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century (ASCE, 2008b).
100 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Despite these changes, however, many of the challenges facing engineering educators have remained remarkably consistent over time. The question of what to include in tight curricula, how long engineering education should last, how much specialization there should be at the undergraduate level, how to prepare students for careers that include both technical and managerial tracks, and how to meet the needs and expectations of society all seem timeless. (p. 125) And, for about two centuries, engineering has, with very few exceptions, adhered to 4-year undergraduate education. This 4-year degree has continued to be recognized as the engineering professional degree in spite of decades of scientific and technological advances, increased environmental concern, growing threats of disasters, and rapid globalization. The ASCE Board of Direction adopted, refined, and confirmed Policy Statement (PS) 465, Academic Prerequisites for Licensure and Professional Practice, which âsupports the attainment of the Body of Knowledge (BOK) for entry into the practice of civil engineering at the professional levelâ (ASCE, 2007). The BOK is defined in the policy as âthe necessary depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of an individual entering the practice of civil engineering at the professional level in the 21st century.â Note that a more detailed description on the history of the adoption of PS 465 can be found in âASCE Policy 465-A Means for Realizing the Aspirational Visions of Civil Engineering,â a paper presented at the American Society for Engineering Education conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June 2008. Table E.1 introduces the 24 outcomesâ4 foundational outcomes, 11 technical outcomes, and 9 professional outcomesâin the BOK. The outcomes are organized by three categoriesâfoundational, technical, and professionalâto further clarify the BOK. The long-term effect of PS 465 is illustrated in Figure E.1 which compares todayâs civil engineering professional track with tomorrowâs. The preceding, relative to todayâs approach, means that tomorrowâs civil engineer will achieve the following: â¢ Master more mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering science fundamentals; â¢ Maintain technical breadth; â¢ Acquire broader exposure to the humanities and social sciences; â¢ Gain additional professional practice breadth; and, â¢ Achieve greater technical depthâthat is, specialization. Todayâs CE professional track: BOK (Implicit) Bacc. Exam/ Professional Exper. licen. practice and educ. life-long learning Tomorrowâs CE professional track: More BOK (Explicit) focused Exper. Professional Bacc. Exam/ educ. practice and licen. life-long learning M/30 Modified Masterâs degree Possibly more With specialty or approximately comprehensive certification 30 credits option FIGURE E.1 Implementation of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Policy Statement 465 will improve the lifelong career of tomorrowâs civil engineer (ASCE, 2008).
APPENDIX D 101 TABLE E.1 Entry into the Practice of Civil Engineering at the Professional Level Requires Fulfilling 24 Outcomes to the Various Levels of Achievement To Enter the Practice of Civil Engineering at the Professional Level, an Individual Must Be Able to Outcome Number and Title Demonstrate This Level of Achievementa Foundational Outcomes 1. Mathematics Solve problems in mathematics through differential equations and apply this knowledge to the solution of engineering problems. (L3) 2. Natural sciences Solve problems in calculus-based physics, chemistry, and one additional area of natural science and apply this knowledge to the solution of engineering problems. (L3) 3. Humanities Demonstrate the importance of the humanities in the professional practice of engineering. (L3) 4. Social sciences Demonstrate the incorporation of social sciences knowledge into the professional practice of engineering. (L3) Technical Outcomes 5. Materials science Use knowledge of materials science to solve problems appropriate to civil engineering. (L3) 6. Mechanics Analyze and solve problems in solid and fluid mechanics. (L4) 7. Experiments Specify an experiment to meet a need, conduct the experiment, and analyze and explain the resulting data. (L5) 8. Problem recognition and Formulate and solve an ill-defined engineering problem appropriate to civil engineering by solving selecting and applying appropriate techniques and tools. (L4) 9. Design Evaluate the design of a complex system, component, or process and assess compliance with customary standards of practice, userâs and projectâs needs, and relevant constraints. (L6) 10. Sustainability Analyze systems of engineered works, whether traditional or emergent, for sustainable performance. (L4) 11. Contemporary issues Analyze the impact of historical and contemporary issues on the identification, formulation, and and historical perspectives solution of engineering problems and analyze the impact of engineering solutions on the economy, environment, political landscape, and society. (L4) 12. Risk and uncertainty Analyze the loading and capacity, and the effects of their respective uncertainties, for a well- defined design and illustrate the underlying probability of failure (or nonperformance) for a specified failure mode. (L4) 13. Project management Formulate documents to be incorporated into the project plan. (L4) 14. Breadth in civil Analyze and solve well-defined engineering problems in at least four technical areas appropriate to engineering areas civil engineering. (L4) 15. Technical Evaluate the design of a complex system or process, or evaluate the validity of newly created specialization knowledge or technologies in a traditional or emerging advanced specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering. (L6) Professional Outcomes 16. Communication Plan, compose, and integrate the verbal, written, virtual, and graphical communication of a project to technical and nontechnical audiences. (L5) 17. Public policy Apply public policy process techniques to simple public policy problems related to civil engineering works. (L3) 18. Business and public Apply business and public administration concepts and processes. (L3) administration 19. Globalization Analyze engineering works and services in order to function at a basic level in a global context. (L4) 20. Leadership Organize and direct the efforts of a group. (L4) 21. Teamwork Function effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team. (L4) 22. Attitudes Demonstrate attitudes supportive of the professional practice of civil engineering. (L3) 23. Life-long learning Plan and execute the acquisition of required expertise appropriate for professional practice. (L5) 24. Professional and ethical Justify a solution to an engineering problem based on professional and ethical standards and assess responsibility personal professional and ethical development. (L6) a Levels 1 through 6 refer to the following levels of achievement, as defined in Bloomâs taxonomy: L1âKnowledge; L2âComprehension; L3âApplication; L4âAnalysis; L5âSynthesis; L6âEvaluation.
102 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PROGRESS WITH REAL CHANGE ASCEâs PS 465 states that fulfillment of the BOK includes a combination of the following: â¢ A baccalaureate degree in civil engineering; â¢ A masterâs degree, or approximately 30 coordinated graduate or upper-level undergraduate semester credits or the equivalent agency/organization/professional society courses providing equal quality and rigor; and â¢ Appropriate experience based on broad technical and professional practice guidelines that provide sufficient flexibility for a wide range of roles in engineering practice. In symbolic form, this portion of PS 465 is referred to as B + M/30 & E Because the BOK focuses on well-defined resultsâthe outcomesâand does not prescribe the means to achieve them, and because the BOK calls for âraising the bar,â the BOK has already proven to be a productive forum for educators and practitioners and has produced concrete results within and outside the civil engineering discipline. For example: â¢ The BOK has been used to modify the ABET Inc. Program Criteria for Civil and Similarly Named Engineering Programs (civil engineering program criteria) and the ABET General Criteria for Masterâs Level Programs (masterâs level criteria) and will continue to be used to improve at least the former. â¢ The BOK is being used to design and/or revise engineering curricula at highly varied institutions. Some example universities, to name just a few, are the University of Alabama, The Citadel, the University of Illinois, the Lawrence Institute of Technology, the Rose-Holman Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin. â¢ The BOK has influenced the modification of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law and Rules to require formal education beyond the bachelorâs degree in the future. â¢ The BOK has prompted elevated discussion of and work on the responsibility of practitioners to coach and mentor young engineers. This is one result of the BOK indicating that experience is needed to complete fulfillment of about two-thirds of the civil engineering outcomes. Figure E.2 clarifies the connections among outcomes, achievement, formal education, and experience. While independent of the ASCE BOK effort, other U.S.-based engineering disciplines have initiated BOK or similar reforms. For example: â¢ The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) convened a summit in the spring of 2008 to explore engineering solutions for a healthier, safer, cleaner, and more sustainable world. The summit focused on what mechanical engineering will become between now and 2028, and attendees worked to understand how the mechanical engineering profession could respond to present and future challenges and what critical knowledge and competencies mechanical engineers will need over the coming 20 years. In defining the âcompetitive edge of knowledge,â ASME noted that âmechanical engineering education will be restructured to resolve the demands for many individuals with greater technical knowledge and more professionals who also have depth in management, creativity and problem- solvingâ (ASME, 2008).
APPENDIX D 103 Level of Achievement 1 2 3 4 5 6 Know- Compre- Appli- Analy- Evalu- Outcome Number and Title ledge hension cation sis Synthesis ation Foundational 1. Mathematics B B B 2. Natural sciences B B B 3. Humanities B B B 4. Social sciences B B B Technical 5. Materials science B B B 6. Mechanics B B B B 7. Experiments B B B B M/30 8. Problem recognition and solving B B B M/30 9. Design B B B B B E 10. Sustainability B B B E 11. Contemporary issues and historical perspectives B B B E 12. Risk and uncertainty B B B E 13. Project management B B B E 14. Breadth in civil engineering areas B B B B 15. Technical specialization B M/30 M/30 M/30 M/30 E Professional 16. Communication B B B B E 17. Public policy B B E 18. Business and public administration B B E 19. Globalization B B B E 20. Leadership B B B E 21. Teamwork B B B E 22. Attitudes B B E 23. Lifelong learning B B B E E 24. Professional and ethical responsibility B B B B E E FIGURE E.2 The Body of Knowledge (BOK) rubric integrates outcomes, levels of achievement, formal education, and prelicensure experience (ASCE, 2008b). NOTE: Bâ¯portion of the BOK fulfilled through the bachelorâs degree; M/30â¯portion of the BOK fulfilled through the masterâs degree or equivalent (approximately 30 semester credits of acceptable graduate-level or upper-level undergraduate courses in a specialized technical area and/or professional practice area related to civil engineering); Eâ¯portion of the BOK fulfilled through the prelicensure experience.
104 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY â¢ In 2005, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) Board of Trustees created the Body of Knowledge Development Working Group and charged it with âdefining the BOK needed to enter the practice of environmental engineering at the professional level (licensure) in the 21st Centuryâ (p. 7). While AAEE is in the stages of defining knowledge required for a degree in environmental engineering, the BOK will also serve as a guideline for college curricula. As of this writing, a working group has completed a draft BOK, noting that completion of the environmental engineering BOK is achieved through a combination of baccalaureate-level work, masterâs-level work, and professional experience. While the BOK includes the expected focus on engineering technical fundamentals in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, the BOK also takes in conceptual analysis, creative design, sustainability, contemporary and global issues, multidisciplinary teamwork, leadership, and effective communication (AAEE, 2008). â¢ The chemical engineering profession, driven in part by the recognition that, over the past 40 years, the undergraduate curriculum in chemical engineering has remained nearly unchanged, conducted three workshops in 2003 that produced a vision and model for reform of undergraduate chemical engineering education (Armstrong, 2006). The future holds promise and potential. As noted earlier, U.S. engineering reform has begun. Disciplines that pioneer the reform effort may experience a decline in the number of students that they attractâa loss of those young people who seek an easier route. More importantly, the pioneering disciplines will attract a larger number of bright, ambitious, diligent, and appreciative students who want a career whose educational and other programs prepare them for challenging and satisfying careers in the 21st century. RECRUITING TOMORROWâS WORKFORCE More than education begins in the early grades. Career recruitment begins then, too. There is no question that workforce recruitment is one of the greatest challenges facing the construction industry today. Todayâs newborns and students currently in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) classrooms make up the workforce of the future. They will replace the current workforce in 20 to 30 years and by 2050 will be at the peak of their careers. Many of them become interested in the subject matter that will form their future career choices at 10 to 12 years of age. While they will not begin to make substantive contributions in their field of choice for several years, the time to begin preparing them for a meaningful future starts now. Significant efforts to effectively brand and market careers in engineering have already begun. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) noted that engineering has an image problem: many K-12 teachers and students have a poor understanding of what engineers do (Cunningham et al., 2005). Other data indicate that the public thinks that engineers are not engaged or involved in contemporary societal or community issues (Harris Interactive, 2004). And, when respondents were asked to rate the prestige of relative professions, engineering was well below the ranking for medicine, nursing, science, and teaching (Harris Interactive, 2006). NAE thus initiated a message development project, one goal of which is to attract young people to careers in engineering. According to NAE, âA better understanding of engineering should encourage students to take higher level math and science courses in middle school, thus enabling them to pursue engineering education in the future. This is especially important for girls and underrepresented minorities, who have not historically been attracted to technical careers in large numbersâ (NAE, 2008, p. 2). The NAE project applied mass-marketing techniques, generating a new positioning statement for engineering, messages, and taglinesâall aimed at improving the publicâs general understanding of engineering. The powerful and positive positioning statement for engineering is below:
APPENDIX D 105 No profession unleashes the spirit of innovation like engineering. From research to real-world applications, engineers constantly discover how to improve our lives by creating bold new solutions that connect science to life in unexpected, forward-thinking ways. Few professions turn so many ideas into so many realities. Few have such a direct and positive effect on peopleâs everyday lives. We are counting on engineers and their imaginations to help us meet the needs of the 21st century. (NAE, 2008, p. 5) In Changing the Conversation, NAE (2008) recommended four courses of action, condensed for this discussion: â¢ The engineering community should adopt and actively promote the positioning statement, and use it as an anchor for all public outreach. â¢ Four messages that evolved from the projectâengineers make a world of difference; engineers are creative problem solvers; engineers help shape the future; and engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safetyâshould be adopted by the engineering community in ongoing and new public outreach activities. â¢ Additional research should commence to test a number of taglines for nationwide use in an engineering public awareness campaign. â¢ An online public relations tool kit should be developed for the engineering community that includes examples of how messages can be used effectively in advertising, news releases, and brochures. Public understanding, message development, and clarifying what engineers do for educators, parents, and school-age children is a positive development, and NAE should be recognized for its foresight and accomplishments in taking such a market-driven approach. There is no question, however, that mathematics is a key ingredient for a successful career in engineering and construction. In the United States there is reason for concern. A recent report, for example, noted that the United States is failing to develop the mathematical skills of girls and boys, and especially among those who could excel at the highest levels. The study by Janet E. Mertz, an oncology professor at the University of Wisconsin, and published in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, notes that while many girls and boys have âexceptional talent in mathâthe talent to become top math researchers, scientists and engineersâthey are rarely identified in the US.â The reason, notes the author, is that American culture does not value talent in mathematics and thus discourages students from excelling in the field (Mertz et al., 2008). Collectively society must recognize mathematics as an essential skill that all students should develop to their highest potential. The goal should be to instill an appreciation for high academic performance and not just to reserve it for athletic achievement. Further evidence of the need for a continued and stronger focus on mathematics and science is documented through various studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. In a recent study of the mathematical abilities of U.S. 12th graders, less than one-quarter performed at or above a proficient level in mathematics, and just 2 percent performed at an advanced level (U.S. DOE, 2007). The same report noted that average mathematics scores for 17-year-olds were not measurably different from scores recorded in 1973 or 1999. In addition, research indicates that U.S. students are more likely to complete degrees in arts and humanities and in business, social sciences, law, and other fields, and less likely to complete degrees in engineering and health. Internationally comparable data on degrees conferred at the postsecondary level have been collected through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). While the total number of engineering degrees conferred in the United States was relatively high compared with that of other OECD countries, the proportion of graduates earning degrees in engineering in the United States was relatively low. The proportion of U.S. graduates earning degrees in engineering (6.4 percent) in 2004 was lower than the other five Group of Eight (G-8) countries reporting data, including Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan (NCES, 2007).
106 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY To obtain further clarification on the scope of the challenge faced in this country in exposing young people to careers in construction and engineering, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) offers some startling results. In 2005, NCES investigated the percentage of high school graduates who concentrated in selected occupational areas by the occupational credits that they earned (NCES, 2005). Table E.2 illustrates three important points: the paucity of high school graduates exposed to potential construction and engineering career paths; the small number of students receptive to and appropriately prepared for careers in engineering; and proof that to attract students to careers in construction and engineering, the construction industry must compete with other fields. TABLE E.2 Percentage of High School Graduates Who Concentrated in Engineering or Construction Occupational Areas, by Number of Occupational Credits Earned, 2005 Occupational Concentration 2-Credit Concentration 3-Credit Concentration Engineering technologies 2.4 1.0 Construction and architecture 2.1 1.2 SOURCE: NCES (2005). In addition to a cultural shift in favor of academic performance, there are numerous programs and efforts under way that help introduce students to careers in construction and engineering. It is a career choice that provides excellent wages and benefits, and one that offers tremendous potential for entrepreneurship. The U.S. Department of Laborâs Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities in construction will be excellent in the future, growing at a faster pace than the rest of the U.S. workforce over the next 10 years (U.S. DL, BLS, 2008). To help meet the growing demand for the construction and engineering workforce, an outstanding infrastructure already exists. This infrastructure is in the form of career academies, special events, and associated activities that promote careers in engineering and construction. Examples follow. â¢ Construction career academies provide students with experiences and information to help build a future career. Such academies are developed around the theme of construction. The goal is to expose students to an array of career choices within the industry. Upon completion of their work at an academy, high school students can transition into the workforce or move on to postsecondary education. Construction firms are vital in this program, partnering with schools to provide opportunities for job shadowing, field trips, mentoring, and internships. The first construction career academy, sponsored by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, was the East Ridge High School Construction Career Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This academy opened in the fall of 2002. Success with this academy has led to the opening of many others across the nation. The AGC of Wisconsin currently has three academies, and several more are in various stages of development. Furthermore, AGC of Wisconsin is planning a workforce development/construction industry promotional campaign. One aspect of this campaign is an informational, interactive Web site aimed at middle and high school students. â¢ The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) sponsors an annual âCareers in Construction Weekâ each October, to boost public awareness of the hard work and contributions of the nationâs craft professionals. In addition, the week promotes recognition among parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and students of the rewarding career opportunities available in construction (NCCER, 2008). NCCER provides innovative suggestions for introducing students to careers in construction. Among them are these:
APPENDIX D 107 âWalk and Learn. Coordinate a walk to school to get children thinking about the built environment. Help students understand how construction affects every aspect of their lives. Explain the different types of jobs that are involved in building what they see around them. âBargain Shopping. Host a booth or event at an area shopping center. Colleges and contractors have successfully recruited young people into the industry through shopping malls. âOpen Up Your Site. Ask a local construction site to host a field trip. Arrange for students to tour the site and gather firsthand information on what it takes to have a successful career in construction. âHunt for Knowledge. Organize a âConstruction Treasure Huntâ in the community. Have students walk a prearranged course around the school or community and search for answers to questions about the built environment. Ask local industry professionals to donate prizes. As part of Careers in Construction Week, NCCER provides contractors, schools, and trade associations with free promotional materials, such as DVD career-related videos, and career resources, including posters, sample news releases, print ads, and a planning guide. NCCER is a not-for-profit educational foundation affiliated with the University of Floridaâs School of Architecture. NCCER provides craft training, management education, and safety and other resources for the construction, maintenance, and pipeline industries. â¢ The National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) promotes early learning through its Block Kids Building Program. Block Kids is an annual competitive, national building program sponsored at the community level by NAWIC chapters and other organizations. Now in its 20th year, the program is open to elementary students in grades 1-6. It introduces them to the construction industry and promotes future careers in the industry. The competition involves the construction of various structures with interlocking blocks and three of the following items: a small rock, string, foil, and posterboard (NAWIC, 2008). NAWIC also sponsors a national âWomen in Construction Weekâ each year in the spring. More than 100 NAWIC chapters across the United States celebrated the event on March 1-7, 2009. The week provides a time for more than 5,500 NAWIC members to raise awareness of the opportunities that the construction industry holds for potential employers and to highlight women as a visible, growing force in the industry. As part of the weekly celebration, NAWIC offers a number of informational ideas to help promote construction and the contributions of women. Here are a few examples: âGet involved in community projects with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. âSponsor educational seminars and workshops and partner with retailers such as Home Depot or Loweâs, or construction-related organizations in your community. âRequest city, state, or other government leaders to issue a proclamation declaring March 1- 7 as âWomen in Construction Week.â âOrganize a mobile career fair at local schools, or host a construction industry social for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner (NAWIC, 2008). â¢ Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), sponsors a number of initiatives that either showcase careers in construction or provide training for those with aspirations to work in the industry. For example, thousands of apprentices and craft students train in more than 20 construction industry crafts through a national ABC network of 78 chapter offices throughout the country. ABC is also involved on college campuses through its ABC Student Chapters Program, a network of more than 50 colleges and universities that offer construction-related degree programs nationwide. At the community level, student chapters facilitate the interaction of ABC member firms, construction faculty, and college students through a variety of industry association and school events including meetings, speakers, internships, community projects, fundraisers, career fairs, job-site tours, and other activities (ABC, 2008). â¢ ZOOM into Engineering is a program sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that introduces the excitement and accomplishment of engineering and engineers to students in
108 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY grades K-5. ASCE encourages its members to make use of the programâs available materials and to go into classrooms and connect with girlsâ and boysâ clubs to share information on careers in engineering. Through the program, students explore the basic math and science concepts that are essential for an engineering education and for a career as an engineer. ZOOM into Engineering includes eight fun, hands- on mathematics, science, and engineering activities for use in classrooms. The program represents a tremendous opportunity for engineers to show children the fundamentals of the engineering profession and the types of activities that they might be engaged in on the job. ASCE notes that the program does more than prompt students to become civil engineers: âThese educational outreach programs also build a basic civil engineering knowledge necessary for citizens to make informed decisions on infrastructure issues in their community and worldâ (ASCE, 2008a). ZOOM into Engineering is one of three ASCE programs aimed at primary-school students. Other ASCE programs include Building Big, for students in grades 6-8, and West Point Bridge Designer, for students in high school. More details on these programs can be found on the ASCE Web site. Visit http://www.asce.org and click on âKids and Careers.â â¢ Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes courses for middle and high school students in engineering and the biomedical sciences. PLTW accomplishes this by forming partnerships with schools, higher-education institutions, and private businesses to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists being graduated from the countryâs educational programs. PLTW began in the 1997-1998 school year. Today, PLTW programs are offered in more than 3,000 schools throughout the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.pltw.org. Building a viable workforce for the future is a concern shared by other organizations as well. The transportation industry, for example, is facing a workforce crisis and is creating a national strategy to recruit more people to fill anticipated needs in management, planning, engineering, construction, and operations positions. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has identified several activities for its action plan for 2009 (TRB, 2008), including the following: â¢ Develop and host a Web site (www.trb-education.org) that serves as a repository for information on transportation workforce issues. â¢ Set up an exhibit booth at the TRB annual meeting in January 2009 to help address workforce issues and to promote the Web site mentioned above. â¢ Carry out several activities at the TRB annual meeting, including these: âSponsor a poster session on âHow to Get People Interested in Transportation.â âHost a session that focuses on what employees want from their employers and a session that includes case studies illustrating how some organizations have learned to be flexible and how they have helped employees transition into new jobs. In addition, TRB plans to rely on distance learning, Webinars, and online courses to reach working professionals seeking to advance their careers. A GREATER ROLE FOR PARAPROFESSIONALS Future success and achievement for the construction industry will also rely on greater use of paraprofessionals and technicians. In civil engineering, as an example, the use of paraprofessionals is undergoing thorough study by the Paraprofessional Exploratory Task Force (PETF), an ASCE committee formed in the spring of 2008 to define, recognize, and incorporate paraprofessionals as an important part of civil engineering. As a measure of definition, the committee provided the following terms to describe positions and corresponding levels of responsibility in civil engineering practice:
APPENDIX D 109 â¢ Engineering professional: An engineering professional (EP) is a position that encompasses responsible charge of engineering work and therefore must be held by an individual licensed to practice engineering. An EP can comprehend and apply advanced knowledge of widely applied engineering principles in the solution of complex problems. â¢ Engineering paraprofessional: An engineering paraprofessional (EPP) is a position supporting an EP. An EPP works under the responsible charge of an EP but may exert a high level of judgment in the performance of his or her work. EPPs can comprehend and apply knowledge of engineering principles in the solution of broadly defined problems. EPPs are generally engineering technologists, but engineers, engineer interns, and professional engineers can also provide engineering paraprofessional services. â¢ Engineering technician: An engineering technician (ET) is a position in which the individual supports an EP and/or EPP. An ET works under the responsible charge of an EP and often under the direction of an EPP. ETs are typically task oriented, with levels of judgment typically commensurate with those specific tasks. ETs can comprehend and apply knowledge of engineering principles in the solution of well-defined problems. ETs are generally technicians, but engineering technologists, engineers, and professional engineers can also serve in this position. In PETFâs final report to the ASCE board of directors, the committee described the roles, responsibilities, and respective ranges of engineering activities and authority for engineering paraprofessionals and engineering technologists. PETF noted there were just 537 graduates of bachelorâs degree civil engineering technology programs in 2006 and further stated: âgiven the relatively sparse numbers of institutions with CET programs and the sheer lack of numbers of CET graduates, the demand could well outstrip supplyâ (PETF, 2008, p. 44). To better integrate paraprofessionals into the engineering profession, PETF recommends the following: â¢ The roles and titles for EPs, EPPs, and ETs in the civil engineering community need to be better defined in order to accurately reflect their contributions to civil engineering practice and to provide guidance on the appropriate levels of education, licensure, and certification. â¢ In order to provide a more consistent workforce and to help ensure its competence, there may be a need for standardizing formal credentials and requirements that demonstrate entry-level and continuing competency of EPPs. â¢ The skills and knowledge of EPPs may not be well utilized across the civil engineering community, so EPPsâ contributions and utilization should be recognized and communicated to employers, potential EPPs, students, parents, code/regulatory officials, and others. â¢ To better integrate EPPs into the civil engineering community, there need to be more opportunities for EPPs to participate in relevant professional societies. â¢ Increased recognition of the contributions of EPPs may increase demand and opportunities for EPPs in the civil engineering community and may result in a need for additional educational infrastructure to provide an adequate number of civil engineering technology graduates. CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS With so many pressures facing humankind, the engineering and construction industryâs responsibility takes on a new sense of urgency. Required is a systems view of engineering education to clarify the goals of Policy Statement 465, described earlier, and to provide meaning and direction to civil engineering educational reforms. Such a view helps us understand where we are now and where we need to be to meet future challenges.
110 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FIGURE E.3 Systems view of preparing the engineering professional. NOTE: COE, College of Engineering. SOURCE: Adapted from Deming (1994). According to Deming (1994), taking a systems view of any process involves addressing such components as raw materials, available resources, supply chains, production modes, distribution, customers, needs, and products. Figure E.3 represents a systems view of current civil engineering education, adapted from Demingâs model. Beginning with the âsupplyâ or âinputâ of raw intellectual talent (i.e., students) provided from a variety of sources (e.g., high schools, community colleges, and other institutions), the educational system produces graduates who are educated citizens and engineering professionals. In the future, civil engineering education must serve the ongoing, emerging, and even unexpected needs of stakeholders and clients. It must also serve to build a strong, steadfast profession for those who join its ranks. A systems view of the educational process enables stakeholders and practitioners the opportunity to examine the individual elements that come together in an exciting blend of human talent and potential, education and educational reform, and a never-changing BOK. Such an approach will help ensure that those who pursue their careers in engineering and construction will enjoy their work, will take satisfaction from meeting the needs of society, and will be ready for the changes and challenges the future is sure to bring. We all have a powerful role to play in how the built environment responds to and contributes to our quality of life. As engineers, we understand the link between natural systems and the built environment. As builders, we are challenged to create and innovate while meeting the expectations of our clients. Together, we work collaboratively to improve our communities and now we turn our attention, our energies, and our insights to meeting the challenges of a changing and competitive world. Table E.3 introduces ânumbers that matter.â
APPENDIX D 111 TABLE E.3 Numbers That Matter Preparation for Success Demographics Workforce Dynamics 23 percentâ 6.4 percentâ 0.2 percentâ Of U.S. 12th graders, Proportion of U.S. graduates Proportion of engineers in the 23 percent score at or above earning degrees in total U.S. workforce of 146 proficient in mathematics. engineering; lower than many million workers. other countries. 2 percentâ 46.4 percentâ Of U.S. 12th graders, 5 percentâ Proportion of women in the 2 percent score at an advanced Engineering accounted for 1 in U.S. workforce. level in mathematics. 20 of all bachelorâs degrees awarded in 2006. For masterâs 10.8 percentâ degrees, 6 percent. 41.9 percentâ Proportion of women in the Estimated undergraduate U.S. engineering workforce. retention rate in engineering, 30 percentâ As engineers, 8.0 percent of class of 2007. Of the U.S. undergraduate women are in engineering population, 30 percent are management. African-Americans, American 12 percentâ Indians, and Latinos. This Fewer than 12 percent of proportion will grow to 32 baccalaureate engineering percent by 2010, and to 38 graduates in the United States percent by 2025. are underrepresented minorities. SOURCE: Selected 2005-2007 data from the Engineering Workforce Commission, Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, and New Demands in Engineering, Science and Technology by Slaughter and McPhail, 2007. (AAEE, 2007; Slaughter and McPhail, 2007). The percentages in Table E.3 provide a blueprint for an action plan to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Specifically, and amplifying on a few selected percentages from this table, that action plan should include: â¢ Preparation for Success âOf U.S. 12th graders, 23 percent scored at or above proficiency in mathematics, while just 2 percent scored at an advanced level. Is this preparation for success or preparation for mediocrity? Enabling the United States to reclaim a prominent position in todayâs global economy requires a renewed focus on mathematics, science, and technology at all levels of education. âOf undergraduates in engineering, 41.9 percent stay in engineering. Put another way, nearly 60 percent of students who enter engineering as undergraduates leave to pursue careers in other fields. Engineering curriculum reform, already under way, needs to proceed unabated in reshaping the profession. âLess than 12 percent of baccalaureate engineering graduates in the United States are underrepresented minorities. The engineering profession will not truly be preparing for success until it successfully recruits more underrepresented minorities into engineering and related fields.
112 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY â¢ Demographics âOf U.S. graduates, 6.4 percent earn degrees in engineering, a figure lower than in many other countries. Furthermore, engineering accounted for 1 in 20 of all bachelorâs degrees awarded in 2005, and 6 percent of all masterâs degrees. Engineering is clearly underrepresented when one analyzes the program and degree choices that college-age students are making. âOf the nationâs undergraduate population, 30 percent are minorities, a proportion that will grow to 32 percent by 2010 and 38 percent by 2025. Concerted efforts must be made to encourage African-Americans, American Indians, Latinos, and other ethnic groups to consider the rewards and satisfactions from careers in engineering. â¢ Workforce Dynamics âWomen make up 46.4 percent of the U.S. workforce. Yet, in engineering, women comprise just 10.8 percent of the workforce, and 8.0 percent of those in engineering management positions. Engineers must work consistently to encourage young girls in science and mathematics at the K- 12 level, and further encourage them to consider careers in engineering. The engineering and construction professions are noted for their collective accomplishments and achievements. The calling now is to build a robust future for our collaborative professions. The needs are clear: â¢ We have no mutually shared vision for the future; â¢ For the engineering profession, we lack a coordinated, systematic marketing and recruiting plan to attract young people to the profession; â¢ We have limited discussions on curriculum reform at the baccalaureate level; and, â¢ We are not substantively discussing workforce issues and inclusion of paraprofessionals and engineering technologists. Global competition for resources, talent, and customers is heating up, making business less predictable and more competitive than ever before. Those with foresight use these times to their advantage, finding opportunity where others find formidable challenge. It is time for leaders to lead, and to collaborate, cooperate, and communicate to transform our approach to the future. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For their review and comment on the development of this paper, the author wishes to recognize and thank Thomas A. Lenox, Managing Director, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Stuart G. Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., engineering consultant and former Dean of the College of Engineering at Valparaiso University. REFERENCES AAEE (American Academy of Environmental Engineers). 2008. Environmental Engineering Body of Knowledge: Summary Report. Environmental Engineer, Vol. 6. Summer. ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.). 2008. ABC Web site. Available at http://www.abc.org. Accessed October 2008. Armstrong, R.C. 2006. A vision of the chemical engineering curriculum of the future. Chemical Engineering Education 40(2).
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