Sixth on Indeed’s list of common reasons employees leave their job is “search for job growth and career advancement.” The author took the position of growth to refer to the resources offered by an employer for continuing education, including workshops, seminars, lectures, and associated tuition reimbursement.

Although all the above in the construction industry are valuable tools in your toolbox for success within a career in construction management, continuing education does not necessarily define career growth within the industry.

Anthony J. D’Angelo, former national chair of the 22,000-member Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), said, In your thirst for knowledge, be sure not to drown in all the information.” 

Our industry offers a vast number of educational opportunities within various organizations; most, if not all, are available to qualifying individuals within the industry itself. The questions regarding your current employer become:

  1. Will they help with or carry the cost of the continuing education?
  2. Will they provide the time for attendance and study?
  3. Will your desire to get that knowledge benefit your career path within the company?
  4. Will this knowledge amount to future compensation growth at your place of employment?
  5. Do they offer this or any type of education supported by leadership within the organization itself?

If you want to attend a workshop or seminar or wish to pursue a university-level degree, there are few employers who will discourage you from doing so. Their level of participation will most likely be determined by how it aligns with the job they have hired you to do. In addition, most employers, especially if they employ 100 or more employees, will have a policy for how they will take part in and maintain a unilateral impartiality to all employees within the organization, protecting the organization itself from accusations of discrimination or inequality. If you can maintain your work performance, it is your decision to pursue your plans within the company’s offerings.

Below, we have attached two sample tuition reimbursement templates to show examples of programs certain companies offer their employees. If you work for a company that does not offer a formal program, that does not mean you cannot gain assistance. Small business owners will often reward dedicated employees with help toward education, especially if a set career path is in place or the employee is part of an ownership succession plan. As you will see from the first sample below, there can be tax incentives for the employer.

Formal educational assistance programs most often are for reimbursement at a college or university level. In our industry, a good share of employers are members of industry-specific associations, such as Associated General Contractors of America, Associated Builders and Contractors, Construction Financial Managers Association, American Society of Professional Estimators, or others that offer workshops, seminars, certificate programs and more specific to industry trends. Some of these programs, such as the Associated General Contractors Professional Project Management Program (PMP), can be more valuable than obtaining a PMP through a local educational institution because it is industry specific, and attending with others working directly in the industry allows for collaborative knowledge gain besides the academic gain.

If you want to leave your employer because you believe advancement is tied to an educational goal, have the conversation first before departing. Your mutual investment in one another without sacrifice to your job performance gives you added support you might wish you had when work and study become challenging to balance or if you discover the knowledge gained needs to now be applied for the true benefit.

Learning is defined by Webster as “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.”

Applying studied and taught knowledge through experience is what ultimately boosts your career.

To Learning and Living,

Suzanne Breistol

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