Many respondents to the salary survey in the April 2013 issue fear that well-publicized government cutbacks will prompt up-and-coming talent to pursue careers in the private sector rather than public sector.

If they’re correct, that doesn’t bode well for the typical public works department.

You and your team are the best antidote to this potential consequence of the economic downturn. Instituted by the American Public Works Association (APWA) in 1960, National Public Works Week (NPWW) is a low-cost, high-impact opportunity to teach residents how ubiquitous — and important — your department is to their daily lives. It’s also a chance to introduce children to public works as a profession, which is more important than ever as the wave of Baby Boomer retirements begins to crest.

Click through the next few pages to see how three departments use the event to reach out to the next generation of public works employees. Also, check out our Editors’ pick: 10 cool National Public Works Week ideas on the last page!