ARTBA Taps Widmeyer to Attract ’Best and Brightest’

Wed May 02, 2007 - National Edition
CEG



The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has engaged Widmeyer Communications to assist in the development and execution of a multi-year workforce development program aimed at recruiting the “best and brightest” to future careers in the U.S. transportation design and construction industry. It will be the first-ever national outreach effort to focus exclusively on the transportation sector of the construction industry.

Phase one of the initiative will include public opinion research conducted by Widmeyer Research and Polling to assess the perceptions of college freshmen and sophomores about careers in the transportation-related engineering and construction field.

In phase two, Widmeyer will develop targeted print and electronic ads and an industry-branded Web site to serve as a central information resource for targeted audiences, including education-based student counselors and guidance officers, students and leading industry-firms in need of recruitment materials.

“Our aim is to help ensure students interested in business management, finance, marketing, science, engineering and other professional disciplines have our industry on their ’radar screen’ of highly rewarding places to work,” ARTBA President and CEO Pete Ruane said.

“In our industry, a young person can make a very good living, be creative and also make real world, positive differences that impact whole communities. While it is often taken for granted, the fact is America’s economy and quality of life depends on its transportation infrastructure.

“Today’s transportation design and construction firms are on the cutting edge of new materials, laser, global positioning and computer design technologies,” Ruane continued. “They utilize high-tech systems and employ innovative environmental, building and production practices. This is not the current image of our industry. We are going to change that.”

According to a recent ARTBA analysis of industry data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly salaried positions for construction professionals, engineers and other functional managers are highly competitive with similar occupations in the other industries.

The workforce program is a key component of ARTBA’s “It’s Our Future” — an integrated campaign aimed at educating the public and federal policy makers about the many returns the industry provides on the public’s investment in transportation infrastructure projects.

“The Widmeyer team is excited about this project,” added Doug Usher, senior vice president and director of Widmeyer Research and Polling. “Understanding young people’s decision-making process and conducting research among students, parents and counselors is a Widmeyer specialty. We look forward to using our background and knowledge to help ARTBA implement a successful campaign.”

Widmeyer has developed and implemented a number of campaigns that utilize strategies similar to those that will help ARTBA meet its goals. In particular, the firm has worked with clients such as the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, the Department of Transportation’s America’s Byways Program, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Commuter Connections Telework Resource Center, and a national immigration task force.

For more information visit www.artba.org or www.Widmeyer.com.