On Cyber Monday, November 28th, ASCE, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the American Public Works Association (APWA) kicked off their inaugural Engineering & Public Works Roadshow at the Port of Long Beach in California. The roadshow spotlights the meaningful and transformational work of engineers and public works professionals.
The inaugural event was held at the Port of Long Beach (POLB), a site that has received awards from both ASCE and ACEC for its sustainable practices, efficient operations, and critical role in the regional and national economies and supply chain. The POLB also overlooks the newly constructed International Gateway Bridge, another award-winning project whose size allowed for larger vessels to pass through while keeping traffic moving, improving the national supply chain.
Tom Smith, ASCE Executive Director, Linda Darr, President and CEO of ACEC, and Scott Grayson, CEO of APWA, all provided remarks at the event. They were joined by Sharon Weissman and Rick Cameron of the POLB, in addition to Andrew Rogers, Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Rep. Lou Correa, California’s 46th Congressional District; and Gloria Roberts, District 7 Director of Caltrans.
The three organizations’ leaders and elected representatives underscored the importance of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), more commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The BIL is providing more than $500 billion in new spending on infrastructure projects across the country over the next five years and has a chance to transform communities and reinvigorate the U.S. economy. POLB and the International Gateway Bridge serve as reminders of why these investments are so important and the impact they can have on local communities.
The BIL is expected to add more than 82,000 full-and part-time jobs in engineering, public works, and design services over the next five years. However, these industries are facing labor backlogs that could hinder the full potential of the BIL, as it is up to engineers and public works professionals to build these game-changing projects.
The Biden Administration has made filling these jobs a nationwide priority. Over the summer, the administration announced the “Talent Pipeline Challenge” campaign, which is meant to amplify the benefits of a career in engineering or public works to students and future employees by showcasing the dynamic projects engineering and public works professionals design across the country.
Students have shown that they value careers that improve society and the projects made possible by the BIL will do just that. This inaugural roadshow event highlighted what is possible when a skilled and dedicated workforce applies its expertise to projects that solve modern day problems.