AIA Emerging Professionals
Emerging Professionals are Paying it Forward by Developing Mentorship NOW Program

The AIA New Jersey Emerging Professionals Committee is developing a mentorship program to facilitate interaction between professionals of all career stages. Mentorship is an essential feature of the development of an architect's career. The form of mentorship has changed considerably over time, from its beginnings as an apprenticeship, to the current environment, with limitless possible types of mentoring relationships.

The program ­ Mentorship NOW ­ utilizes today's technology such as social media and promotes interpersonal communication to develop career relationships. Learning through mentorship has evolved from a narrow path to a complex range of possibilities. This organized program streamlines the current process into a more productive form of mentorship relevant to interns and students today, that can also benefit seasoned professionals.

The technical component of the Mentorship NOW program is the online database. This database allows program participants to log pertinent information and interests. This information will help assemble groups with similar interests within similar geographic areas of the state.

Mentoring groups will have four levels of professionals including emerging professionals, mid-level licensed, mid-level unlicensed, and seasoned professionals. Emerging professionals will include students, IDP interns, ARE candidates, and Young Architect Forum members licensed up to 10 years. Fellows will be invited to participate, with the goal of one per group. Mentoring through cross-generational communication will facilitate bridging the gap between different experience levels. Groups will be assembled based on information provided in applications.

As a supplement to the small mentoring groups, the committee will plan bimonthly educational seminars where all are invited, featuring presentations given by professionals in other fields. Mentorship NOW will add educational seminars as another member benefit. One goal of these interdisciplinary seminars is to foster interest in alternative career paths for architects, which is a growing minority of the associate membership, as people deal creatively with the recession by inventing their own jobs. For those members on a traditional career path, the seminars will provide a refreshing point of view by informing attendees on topics not usually emphasized in current practice.

Mentorship NOW will be accepting applications in Spring 2012. The program is being organized by AIA NJ Emerging Professionals Committee which includes a Chairperson from each section, state IDP Coordinator, state Chairperson, Regional Associate Director, YAF Liason and Associate AIA members. If you are interested becoming involved please contact John Kanengieter at aiacnjep@gmail.com

As AIA national has recently made support of Emerging Professionals a strategic priority, now is the time to foster their development and welcome them into the Institute here at home in New Jersey.

John Kanengieter, AIA, EIT, & LEED AP
Central New Jersey Emerging Professionals Chair