Washington D.C.—To bridge a workforce challenge in public works and local governments throughout the U.S., the nation’s largest public works organization today announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor to advance a program designed to get more veterans in these vital professions.

The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, or VETS, connects organizations with veterans, transitioning service members, or military spouses to fill positions that include on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs, internships, sponsored work-placement options, and more.

“Our veterans have served on the front lines to defend our country and now, through VETS, they can continue to keep American communities safe while helping to improve the quality of life of all,” said American Public Works Association CEO Scott D. Grayson, CAE.

“Veterans know how to get a job done with a moment’s notice,” said APWA President Gary Losier, PEng. “As a public works professional, they will use their military experience and serve in critical and key roles – including as first responders – that advance the quality of life for all.”

Through its partnership with the Department of Labor, APWA will share the resources available in the VETS program so more former military personnel can fill the many jobs that exist today in public works departments and local government offices across the country.

The partnership formed following APWA’s announcement of a new workforce development committee this past August that is charged with identifying, developing, and promoting resources and partnerships that lead to successful careers in public works. Since then, the committee has developed a strategy plan for recruitment and retention, and it plans to showcase VETS later this year with an education session at PWX 2024 in Atlanta.

In addition to VETS, the committee is looking outside the traditional process of targeting high school, technical school, and college graduates to fill positions, and is exploring ways to diversify the workforce with those from the military, post-incarceration, immigration, and retirement.

Addressing the public works workforce shortage is part of each APWA public policy priority: emergency management, transportation, and water resiliency. It is also a policymaker primer.

“Recognizing the need for a skilled workforce with the necessary capabilities to construct, maintain, and operate critical infrastructure, APWA supports federal policies and dedicated, full funding for workforce programs that ensure a pipeline of public works professionals well into the future,” the primer says.

Labor’s VETS website is

About APWA

The American Public Works Association is a not-for-profit, international organization of 32,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge. Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, APWA also operates a government affairs office in Washington, D.C., and guides 62 chapters and 97 branches throughout North America.


Mark Shade
APWA Government Affairs Media Manager
(202) 218-6736