Earlier this year the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) formed a partnership with the Maryland Society of Surveyors (MSS) to pilot the Future Surveyors Program (FSP). The FSP is a career pathway program that solves two problems. First, the field of surveying needs fresh blood. Across the nation the average age of surveyors is 57 years old. With the majority of the working population facing retirement, the surveying industry needs more young people to know about all the great aspects of a career as a surveyor. The great salary, opportunity for growth and new travel to new places everyday – the surveying industry boasts a very high job satisfaction rate. Surveyors also use all the new technology including drones and 3D scanners. And yet, not enough young people are entering the field to fill all the available jobs.
Second, young people graduating high school need career opportunities with a future. With a tight labor market and skyrocketing college costs young people need options need to know about jobs that can become careers that they love and pay them a wage that can provide for them and their future families.
In 2016 MSS approached MOED to help them solve the first problem. Together they developed and piloted the Future Surveyors Program. FSP is six-month program that exposes young people to the field of surveying and prepares them for entry-level jobs. After orientation 12th graders from high schools in Baltimore participate in job shadowing, one-on-one mentoring from a professional surveyor and group classes that introduce them learn about career paths in surveying. After graduation, participants take part in a paid, six-week internship in a professional surveying firm. Graduates interview with firms seeking to fill entry-level rodman positions.
The FPS pilot enrolled six 12th grade students. Though one student found employment before the internship began, the other five successfully completed the program and four are currently employed as rodmen. Two of those five are working full-time and two are working part-time and are taking classes at local colleges. The success of the pilot led MSS to commit to officially launch the program. The Urban Alliance, a youth job-training and life skill preparation program in Baltimore, will take over the training program and, in partnership with MSS, increase the number of participants to 15 in the second year. “I was about to graduate high school and didn’t know what I was going to do. Now I have a good-paying job with benefits and opportunity for growth,” remarked Craig Hunter, one of the program graduates. He and other members of his cohort have volunteered to help recruit the new class of FSP participants. Another participant, Emanuel Brown shared that, “everyone should know about this program. I know so many people that didn’t plan to go to college. They could have good jobs right now if they participated in this program”.