Anne Doherty Johnson 2013-11-28 02:06:56
AFE New England Chapters Focus on the future The importance of scholarships • and programs is recognized by AFE chapters that are offering educational incentives to a bevy of students in the Boston area and beyond. As AFE members contemplate the future and witness the increasing complexity of their profession and the varied technologies they manage, they are also thinking about tomorrow's facilities management leaders, and asking themselves, "Who is entering our industry in the future?" Many members in the field are due for retirement in the next decade, and guaranteeing a pipeline of highlyskilled workers is a necessity and a priority for facilities professionals. The need to fill in future jobs in the industry is just one impetus, among several, that has spurred AFE local chapters in New England to create programs that promote the profession, indentify future recruits, and give them the financial and moral support they might need to graduate and enter the workforce. A number of AFE chapters in New England actively support scholarship programs to support these future facilities professionals. These chapter members share the excitement for their profession by investing in its future with scholarship programs that mesh well with AFE's history of supporting and growing the facilities engineering profession. • AFE Chapter 122 Eastern Connecticut (Norwich) has established a $50,000 AFE Chapter 122 engineering scholarship at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut. The scholarship provides full tuition and will be awarded to a student enrolled in an engineering discipline who has maintained a 3.0 GPA with demonstrated financial need. • AFE Boston Chapter 33 uses its annual golf tournament to fill the coffers of the Leo J. Monty Scholarship Fund, which was named after a founding member of a predecessor organization, the Boston Plant Engineers Club. This organization eventually became AFE after first evolving into the American Institute of Plant Engineers. The aforementioned scholarships are awarded to students pursuing degrees or certifications to advance their careers in facilities engineering and management or those pursuing studies in engineering-related fields. AFE Springfield Chapter 85 in Pioneer Valley gives out an annual scholarship to a student pursuing a career in facilities engineering. Special consideration is given to family members of the local AFE Chapter 85 members. AFE Granite State Chapter 140 in New Hampshire awards annual scholarships to the children of AFE members who are attending an accredited college or university full time and maintaining high grades in an engineering, facilities management and/or technology-related field. AFE "Rhody" Chapter 63 in Rhode Island runs an annual golf outing in September with proceeds going towards its annual AFE student scholarship program. A clear path to facilities engineering Since the career pathway for many in the profession has been non-traditional or even accidental, efforts to help steer students to a more intentional facilities management career are also important. In the past, the route to discovering facilities management may have included having a friend or family member in it already, or coming across it in a course catalog. The local AFE chapter scholarships shine the light on facilities management as a career option. "We hope our efforts to make the facility engineering profession more visible encourage a greater number of students to explore a career in it and to see its many opportunities and rewards," said Paul Cantrell, CPE, CHFM, AFE Region 8 vice president and director of Facility Operations for Concord Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire. Increasing overall public awareness of the profession When chapters run scholarship programs, they help grow AFE's visibility in local communities, which in turn, helps bring AFE and the facilities industry into the public eye. Whether through word-of-mouth or local news coverage of scholarships and event, the public is made aware of the health, safety and security efforts made by facilities professionals. Not to mention, these programs also position local chapters as good citizens. "In the early days of the industry, there was no clear career path for a facilities professional," noted Cantrell. "Now, with AFE designations like the CPE and CPMM, individuals who choose a facilities engineering career can gain world-class competence in their industry and can demonstrate more value to the corner office." Other student programs offer "slice of life" perspective Some local chapters don't stop at scholarships. Many entice young people into the industry by giving them a taste of life inside the industry through facilities tours to see how day-to-day operations are run. Several local chapters have launched programs to include students in facilities tours and chapter meetings in order to give them a bird's eye view of what most don't see— the underbelly of systems like water, cooling, heating, electricity, IT and security. Touring facilities, hospitals and manufacturers opens the door to witnessing the variety of job opportunities that exist in the field. The chance to speak with those already working in the profession help students imagine their own futures. These opportunities offer a better understanding of the history and potential for employment in the industry in ways that might not come across as clearly in a classroom setting. Showing students the impact of a career in facility engineering Students evaluate potential careers around issues like opportunities for advancement as well as doing interesting and meaningful work. Young people today want to make a real impact in the workplace, and students quickly learn that a facilities management career gives them the chance to this and more. When students understand how facilities, operations and engineering professionals play a critical role in keeping the country's infrastructure secure and well-managed, for many, the industry becomes more compelling. "It's an exciting time to be in facilities engineering - our members make a real difference in the operational environments of our organizations, and they can derive great professional satisfaction knowing they are making a positive contribution to the everyday experiences of our organization's workers and clientele," said Cantrell. "Sharing this with those who would be a part of our future is important." Engaging students early in AFE activities Making students aware of AFE and inviting them to participate in local chapter activities is a great way to give a boost to those just starting their careers. Potential facilities employees appreciate knowing that there is an AFE support system available to help them chart a successful career. Post graduation, this early exposure to AFE can help new facilities employees position themselves for long-term career success because they are able to take advantage of all that AFE provides — from camaraderie and trusted advice from peers to access to career opportunities and professional development. The scholarships and other student programs help spread the word that this is a great profession—and align perfectly with AFE's commitment to lifelong learning.
Published by Facilities Engineering Journal. View All Articles.
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