How We Can Groom The Next Generation of Architects
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Posted by: April Becerra, AIASCV Executive Director
April Becerra, CAE
Executive Director, AIA Santa Clara Valley Chapter
Greetings AIASCV Members,
I was browsing through my LinkedIn feed recently and it was apparent that firms are scrambling to meet their urgent staffing needs. A roaring economy in the Bay area sounds wonderful, however, the way business is done these days seems a little bit different.
Architects, contractors, consultants and other vendors in the construction industry are being more selective with projects. They are asking more questions and are walking away from prospective projects with unrealistic deadlines attached to them. With the shortage in staff, firms are not willing to pull their attention away from performing their best for their long-term clients that represents a large part of their current workload.
So how do we as an industry fix the labor shortage? There is a significant delay in nurturing the next generation of architects. I have observed the efforts of the construction industry and they have ratcheted up their efforts to develop effective apprenticeship programs. There is collaboration between industry, education and government to prepare a diverse population of young people to explore, experience, and enter one of the many careers available in the industry.
The East Side Union High School District Career Pathways Trust was recently awarded a local consortium grant of $5.8 million. Their mission is admirable and very much needed in Silicon Valley. We will serve as an industry collaborator in their efforts to help high school students on their career pathway. To demonstrate our support, AIA Santa Clara Valley is committed to providing the following services toward this effort:
- Offering job shadowing opportunities for students
- Host tours that include technical demonstrations and other real world and industry practices for students and for teachers
- Participate on pathway industry advisory boards
- Hosting career forums in design and architecture
- Hosting special career presentations for girls
- Participating in mock interviews for students
- Mentoring students, especially seniors, in design and architectural projects and community service projects
These outreach efforts will be valuable in the long term and the need to participate in these efforts consistently should not be underestimated. However, there are still the present shortages that firms are dealing with. AIASCV has improved its efforts to highlight career opportunities via its website and email announcements. Also, we have reached out to the West Valley College student community and provided them with an orientation on AIA and how they can participate in the chapter. Our Emerging Professionals Committee continues to work diligently on exposing the newest generation of architects to local area firms, tours, as well as introducing new skills with free workshops.
It helps to keep your relationships with your staff strong. They are your biggest cheerleaders and HR recruiters. When they have positive experiences, they will be natural ambassadors for the profession. Nurture the relationship, show gratitude and reap many benefits such as productivity, loyalty and ultimately business success.
If you have an interest in participating in our outreach with the high schools, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m starting to compile my list of volunteers. Your interaction with these students may leave a lasting impression on them. Also, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilbecerracae.
I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. I hope your summer is going well and you are getting to spend plenty of time outdoors. Now if only I could get my private outdoor patio at the AIA office.