Students need better awareness on what an AEC career track can offer them.
We understand that students planning their careers want to know the full picture of what industries can provide them—not only the salary and benefits but where they will work. Is it a dungeon atmosphere or a brightly lit room with a whole bunch of other people? What are the opportunities for growth?
We’re very excited about launching an “event” website, designed for two groups: AEC companies seeking talent and young people seeking jobs. Candidates will be able to interact with multiple companies (effortlessly) via computer, tablet, or mobile phone; companies will get more qualified candidates at far less cost than existing options and more efficiently.
Each company’s exhibitor booth will explain who the company is, what they’re looking for, a video of what their employees say, leadership makeup, what the workplace looks like, current projects in the marketplace, what new hires will work on, and how they will grow.
In addition to connecting companies with new talent, we’re also working with universities. Here in the Bay Area, there are half a dozen universities with broad curriculum for the construction industry, whether it’s construction management, environmental design, civil/mechanical engineering, urban planning, etc..
That’s true nationwide: in each construction ecosystem in each major U.S. city, multiple universities educate and facilitate the talent feed to the industry.
Larger AEC firms looking to attract new talent, recruit through these educational institutions, and many have adopted the “intern model” to bring in students finishing their first or second year of undergrad or graduate school to give them an idea of the particular company.
While the existing industry model has been successful at bringing new talent into the fold, we think there’s still a need for greater education and awareness about AEC career tracks.
Take a young woman we met recently. She’s in her late twenties and works in civil engineering. We asked about career guidance during her studies, and one of the things she said was she wished someone had told her that there were many different applications for her intended degree; while she was pursuing it. LISA intends to serve this need.
Indeed, with proper planning, an engineering or architecture degree can lead to new and exciting opportunities within the industry. In AEC fields, you’re not likely to be stuck in one type of job for your whole career. Once you’ve established your area of expertise, there are few limits to where you can go. One of our buddies, architect Lynn Simon of Thornton Tomasetti, for example, moved from a singular focus on architecture into green, sustainable building.
Another great example of an individual who has capitalized on industry cross-pollination is Ken Seibel. He has lived all over the world as an engineer. (Interested in working internationally, by the way? No problem. The AEC industry is global.) Today, Ken owns a consultancy firm. He advises big developers on how to make their buildings environmentally sound, among other things. He knows the technology they’ll need, and his expertise is highly valued.
In landing that first position or moving laterally within the industry, the AEC industry offers so many untapped opportunities for motivated job seekers.
Because the industry is not consumer-oriented like high tech—and the media doesn’t sing its praises—it has been overlooked by many bright students planning their careers.
Overlooked no longer, we hope. Our aim is to continue shining light on where these dynamic fields can take you.