Greetings to all!
In this month’s President’s message, I would like to touch on one of the challenges engineers, contractors, and owners/clients face that I mentioned in my acceptance speech at our Annual Conference in Marco Island: Workforce Development. In addition, I wanted to share an update on the activities surrounding FES that I have had the opportunity to participate in over the last month.
Why is Workforce Development so important and critical for engineers, contractors, and our clients/owners today? It is not only because there is a decline in personnel available to design, construct, and manage large infrastructure projects but also a gap of available experienced specialists who would otherwise train and mentor younger professionals. In addition, Workforce Development is crucial to stay competitive in the industry, especially since Florida is poised to be the 10th global economy in the marketplace.
For starters, workforce development is a process that requires a commitment from our industry, clients, partners, and individuals to ensure a skilled and adept workforce will be capable of tackling the challenges of the engineering industry.
How can FES lead the initiative and identify opportunities for our members to actively participate in providing solutions to this problem? Here are a few ideas that we could consider developing, improving, or collaborating on:
- Technical Training Programs: Implement specialized technical training programs that focus on the specific skills and knowledge required for engineers and contractors. This can include training on the latest technologies, construction methods, project management, and safety protocols. Technical training programs are already widely implemented in our community, and I would like to continue to expand collaboration with ACEC on this opportunity for professionals to augment their qualifications.
- Apprenticeship Programs: Establish apprenticeship programs that provide hands-on training and mentorship for aspiring engineers and contractors. This allows them to gain practical experience while learning from experienced professionals in the field.
- Industry Partnerships: Collaborate with industry organizations, academia, and trade schools to develop partnerships that provide access to resources, expertise, and training opportunities for engineers and contractors. This can include internships, co-op programs, joint research projects, etc.
- Continuing Education: Encourage and support engineers and contractors to pursue continuing education programs, certifications, and professional development courses. This helps them stay updated with the latest industry practices and advancements.
- Knowledge Sharing Platforms: Create platforms or forums where engineers and contractors can share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned. This promotes collaboration and continuous learning within the workforce.
- Success Measurement: Develop a system to define and measure success while creating a forum and areas of improvement.
- Embrace Technology: Encourage engineers and contractors to embrace and adapt to new technologies that can improve efficiency and productivity in their work. Provide training and resources to help them effectively utilize these tools. As I mentioned previously, I believe AI will be incorporated into the future curriculum.
I look forward to your thoughts on how these ideas can be incorporated into FES and our wider community at our next board meeting on November 15 in Tampa.
Over the past month, FES has been active in the community. I had the opportunity to attend a few events in October and wanted to share the benefits of such events.
The FES Chapter Leadership Training session in Tallahassee on October 4th and 5th with our staff. I had the pleasure to meet and interact with some of the Chapters’ upcoming leaders and officers, namely Kilian Eckert, PE – NEFL; David Bond, PE – Sarasota; Grecia Rodriguez -Miami; Colby Brown, PE – Pensacola; Jennifer Aldridge – Gulf, and Jocelyn Brooks, PE – Bid Bend. Our Executive Director Allen Douglas and Cherie Pinsky, Chief Operating Officer, and the entire staff did an exceptional job presenting how they support our chapters and the legislative initiatives we undertake to promote and defend our profession and licensure.
The ACEC Fall Conference in Austin, TX, on October 17-19, with several of our ACEC/FES Colleagues and executive staff, which was well attended. Every time I attend an ACEC conference, I am always reminded that the Florida Engineering Society (FES) is one of the largest state engineering societies across the country that is actively supporting engineers in all fields of engineering and the engineering profession with a membership of over 4000 members. California is the second largest.
FDOT D4 and D6 Construction Career Day on October 24 for a ground-breaking ceremony with several of the department’s executive team. FDOT, its consultants, and contractors are collaborating to promote employment opportunities and inspire the interest of future professionals in making a career in the construction and maintenance of highways, bridges, and other transportation facilities necessary for Florida’s mobility and, at the same time to address the challenges of Workforce Development.
There are many opportunities in the community to get involved. I encourage you to consider attending or supporting events outside our meetings to further your careers and advance our society.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the next meeting and at events in the near future.