Information Exchange: Publications

Study of Young Professionalsí Experience in the Workplace

Author: Lisa Bellini and Meloney McGuire

The goal of the CIS educational workshop is to bring together key stakeholders in Civil Infrastructure Engineering including academics, practicing professionals, policy makers, and representatives of the infrastructure industry to critically review and discuss professional educational needs


The first aspect of our investigation is the professional perspective on CIS education. Through this study we hope to achieve a better understanding of how well higher education programs in civil engineering prepare their graduates for the challenges they will face in the work place by determining both their successes and failures in meeting the critical needs of the industry. The fist aspect of this study, then, was to interview senior executives who are involved in strategic planning who would be able to provide a broad, industry-based perspective.

To supplement and advise the above perspective, we also conducted a series of interviews with people who have very recent and direct experience with engineering education, recent graduates of engineering programs, young professionals and human resources professionals. Recognizing that CIS education is evolving, we wanted to get a sense of how prepared students are for the transition from their education to professional work. The total number of people we spoke to was small (11 people). This included 5 young engineers, 4 human resource professionals, and 2 engineers who had gone on to MPA/MBAs. Our goal, however, was not to be scientific or precise, but rather to have conversations with people with useful points of view for helping us think about our ideas and objectives.

Of everyone we interviewed, we asked questions about both the success recent graduates had in the workplace and the limitations/gaps in their preparation. We also spoke to graduates of higher education programs in civil engineering who had decided to pursue alternative careers or advanced degrees in a non-engineering field in an effort to understand the reasons they had left the field. The responses are summarized below."

Date Created: November 1999; Date Posted: April 2006






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