• Students from Northern Illinois University attend the APWA Congress in chicago for the Futures Program.

    Credit: David Rauch

    Students from Northern Illinois University attend the APWA Congress in chicago for the Futures Program.

In 2002, the Kansas City Metro Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) kicked off the organization’s first Futures Program. Engineering and public administration students from around the country were introduced to potential careers and employers during the association’s annual convention and trade show.

In August, 25 students from Northern Illinois University (NIU), division of Public Works, joined about 3,000 future colleagues and vendors during the annual meeting in Chicago.

“I wanted to expose our students to what public works is all about,” says Denise Burchard, assistant to the chair at NIU. “It often takes a back seat to some of the more glamorous government administration services, so they’re not always aware of what public works involves.”

Students that participated in the day-long program were given the opportunity to walk the exhibit space, attend seminars and workshops, and most important, network.

“It was interesting to see the diversity in the field,” says Nadim Badran. “I never knew the scope of work public works was responsible for until now,” adds Matt Havlik.

In addition to the Futures Program, APWA offers student memberships to help jump-start a career in public works via internships and other opportunities. To learn more about the program, visit www2.apwa.net/students/.