Long-Term Planning: Emerging Architects Key to Future

In the many discussions about the state of the economy that I have participated in, there is a growing concern for emerging architects. Those graduating this year into a profession that feels as if it is buying time until new projects are announced and construction begins again are finding it difficult to get their foot in the door. Young professionals with a couple of years of experience are often the first to get laid off. Soon, these jobless professionals will start looking elsewhere to support themselves, leaving a major gap in the workplace.

There are several things that can be done to keep young professionals in architecture. Many offices that do have work right now are hesitant to hire when the future is so uncertain. Instead, employees are working overtime (even more than usual) to keep up with the breakneck deadlines that were promised by firms trying to stay competitive. Perhaps these firms can hire emerging architects to work on a temporary basis, to ease some of the pressure. Unemployed emerging architects are looking for any kind of experience to boost their resumes.

The AIA is taking steps in the right direction to support emerging architects, but it can do more, as well. It recently launched a scholarship program that gave away 100 free registrations to next month’s convention. Needless to say, almost the day it launched, it closed due to the overwhelming response. There should be more of these scholarship programs, locally as well as nationally, encouraging emerging architects to get involved with the architecture community even if they are not working. The AIANY’s Not Business As Usual discussions have broached the topic, offering resume advice (portfolio reviews will be offered this Wednesday, 03.25.09). Also, the AIANY Emerging NY Architects (ENYA) committee is hosting a Mentor Match program Tuesday evening, 03.24.09, to give career advice.

Everyone is struggling these days, but looking forward to preserving the profession in the long-run is just as important as finding the next project.