Benchmark Group

AAES and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Engineering Competency Model a Success

In 2014, members of the engineering industry learned that the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) and the U.S. Department of Labor were working together to develop a new competency model for the industry. The AAES had the development of this model as one of their key priorities, and thanks to funding from the United Engineering Foundation, the model has become a reality.

The purpose of this model is to act as a resource for those in the engineering profession. It will outline the necessary skills and competencies needed to become an engineer, as well as helping current engineers stay abreast of professional developments and maintain their proficiency. This is just one of a number of different competency models the Department of Labor has been developing and promoting via their Competency Model Clearinghouse website.

Members of the AAES and others in the engineering community were invited to a webinar in February of 2015 to learn about the engineering competency model, how it was being developed, and its uses. Participants were able to view a draft of the model and provide feedback. A validation team of twenty-seven professionals met in April to provide further feedback and critique the draft. The final form of the model was then released on July 9th.

Since then, engineers from around the world have read through the document and begun to follow its outline. It has served to refocus hiring qualifications and job duties, as well as impact engineering training courses and continuing education courses.

The model is broken down into five different tiers of skills, topped with management competencies and occupation-specific requirements, which obviously vary by position. However, the five tiers consist of skills that all engineering professionals should have:

Tier 1 – basic personal effectiveness such as integrity, professionalism, and dependability.
Tier 2 – academic competencies such as good writing skills and critical thinking.
Tier 3 – workplace competencies like being creative, being organized, and being a team player.
Tier 4 – industry-wide technical competencies, such as design, quality control, safety, and manufacturing.
Tier 5 – industry-sector functional skills that are specific to each engineer’s duties.

As a member of the engineering community, the Benchmark Group has had a keen interest in the model’s development and implementation. We have found that our dedication to excellence and focus on high quality means that our professionals already maintain many of the skills and competencies outlined. We do continue to strive towards improvement, and will be closely evaluating our own policies and models to make certain we continue to provide the dedication and customer satisfaction we’re known for.