Infrastructure is what keeps business—and life—moving. The strength of the nation’s public roads and utility distribution systems impacts everything from employment to healthcare. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), however, 43% of the public roadways in the United States remain in poor or mediocre condition, with almost 231,000 bridges needing repair—nearly 8% of them structurally deficient. These systems need major repair, replacement, or preservation work and soon.
The U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, is a historic, $550 billion investment to address deteriorating infrastructure, including projects to improve public transportation, roadways and water and energy distribution systems.
While this forthcoming modernization is much needed, it also leads to an important question: Who has the skills to manage these critical infrastructure projects?
Construction project managers need a different set of skills
In today’s tight labor market, where vacant jobs are plentiful, available workers are scarce and many retirements loom, project management skills are already in short supply. In fact, the global economy needs to recruit and hire 25 million additional project management professionals by 2030 just to keep up, according to the 2021 Talent Gap report from the Project Management Institute (PMI). The report predicts that, in construction alone, more than 61 million project managers will be needed in the next decade.
“Organizations turn to project management to deliver consistent results, reduce costs, increase efficiencies and improve customer and stakeholder satisfaction,” explains Brantlee Underhill, Managing Director, North America, for PMI. “As of this past April, there were roughly 440,000 job openings in the construction industry in the U.S. alone—and McKinsey estimates that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will cause that number to increase by hundreds of thousands. Now is the time for all construction professionals to upskill and embrace new technology being used to bring projects to life. Organizations can also help to offset this growing labor shortage by offering their employees the skills they need to successfully execute projects on time, within scope and on budget.”
In taxpayer-funded projects, the government has a responsibility to be an effective steward of costs and schedules. In government projects, however, nearly one-third of initiatives fail to meet original goals and only half stay within budget. This data spurred the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA) of 2016, which is legislation designed to improve project and program management within the U.S. federal government to help reduce wasteful spending.
Wasted time and money won’t be an option for massive and vital infrastructure projects and skilled project managers will be needed to help government agencies comply with PMIAA.
PMI: A resource for construction training and upskilling
According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession research, construction companies waste an average of $127 million for every $1 billion spent on projects and programs. The cause of this overspending? Poor project planning and management. It will take training and education to help project managers bring this number down.
As the world’s leading project, program and portfolio management association, PMI was built to help companies respond to challenges like these. The training it provides can help the construction industry close the talent gap and upskill and certify project professionals, so their teams are prepared to bring IIJA projects to life.
Companies that invest in training now will see major payoffs later as infrastructure projects get under way. Local and state government agencies will be looking for construction partners that can execute large- and mega-scale infrastructure projects on time and within budget. Organizations who staff certified project professionals are more likely to be identified—quickly—as a valuable partner who can be trusted to consistently deliver results.
Government agencies can take advantage of PMI’s other resources like their professional and local chapter community memberships. PMI members can tap into a wealth of knowledge through live and virtual events, training, networking, tools and templates and industry insights. Pain points related to the uptick in the need to properly manage infrastructure projects are unique—connecting with the vast PMI community provides a global platform to exchange ideas and prepare for the largest federal investment in infrastructure in decades.
Comparing PMP and PMI-CP certification
Through PMI training and certifications, project managers will not only build and hone the right skills, but also understand how to do more work in less time to boost efficiency and productivity.
Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification
Designed by project leaders for project leaders, PMP® certification holders learn not only how to lead projects effectively, but also how to help teams spearhead tangible change, navigate uncertainty and work smarter to reduce wasted time and resources. Certifying all project managers can improve efficiency across organizations by scaling processes accordingly.
Every construction project is different and the PMP® certification program prepares professionals for whatever methodology is used: predictive, agile, or a hybrid approach.
Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP™) Certification
Designed by construction industry experts specifically for project professionals in construction, this program defines the standard for quality construction management. It helps project managers sharpen existing skills, including communication and collaborative leadership skills, as well as develop new capabilities and expertise in digitalization and automation so they’re prepared to lead industry transformation.
Professionals can pick and choose whichever PMI-CP™ courses they prefer, or they can complete all seven – including three micro-credentials and take the exam to earn the full PMI-CP™ certification.
Whichever professional training option you choose, investing in education and certification for your project managers will make sure your team is prepared for the work ahead and ensure that your company can finish projects on time and on budget to help lead the charge in revitalizing America’s infrastructure.