Public works have almost always been the faction of local government that can be overlooked or underappreciated; seen as a minor function and insignificant to the larger goal. However, this could not be further from the truth.
It is thanks to these everyday heroes that our infrastructure keeps running and can operate as needed. It takes organization and action to perform these essential duties, and the American Public Works Association is here to provide the framework and resources.
Established in 1937, and with roots going back as far as the 1890s, the APWA consists of 30,000 members worldwide from an array of different disciplines within public works. The organization has 63 chapters across North America including eight chapters in Canada.
With its far-reaching influence around the globe, APWA is doing its part to access the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis and to continue being a resource and network for the public works industry. The association’s homepage links to a survey for public works officials and business owners asking how they’ve been affected, what measures they are taking, and how government entities can best help. There is also a forum page for members to discuss their challenges and share creative solutions.
Members of APWA include those from local, state, and federal agencies, but also those from the private sector providing the products and services necessary to perform public works duties. From construction companies to consulting firms, the AWPA provides opportunities and resources to a vast network of public works professionals.
In addition to association awards and annual conferences, the APWA has an accreditation program with an emphasis on professionalism and accountability. Different departments, agencies, and companies can receive formal verification on a voluntary basis.
The goal of the program is to drive industry leaders to raise standards and evaluate their practices, rather than simply relying on government regulation. If the improvements are more self-motivated, the agencies are more likely to meet the goals of accreditation and to stick with those standards. In addition to being an evaluator, the APWA also considers itself an educator. The association offers its members a range of different educational opportunities to apply in their daily professions. APWA stays on top of the latest technology trends, they offer one-day certification seminars in key areas, and even have DIY-Public Workshops Kits available.
For those seeking more in-depth training and education, APWA offers a year-long management training program for emerging leaders. Folks can also earn continuing education units through the association, and have access to a range of operator training programs.
To learn more, visit www.apwa.net.