In the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, is told that his future after his graduation from college could be found in one word — “plastics.”
In 2009, the one word of advice for new graduates might be “sidewalks.”
In my recent travels to Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts and Washington — and even in the Denver-Boulder area — there seems to be more sidewalks being constructed or redone now since the Great Wall was erected or the WPA projects took place in the 1930s.
The employment and supply opportunities in the building and repair of sidewalks include : surveyor, concrete company employees, front-end loading machine suppliers and operators, construction equipment operators, saw cutters, concrete formers, concrete finishers, asphalt companies and patching crews, jackhammer operators, landscapers, truck drivers to supply the dirt, gravel and sand, temporary traffic signal operators, directional signage makers and installers, erosion-control workers, portable toilet companies, landfill operators for waste, concrete blanket makers and layers, curing compound installers and manufacturers, curb formers and pourers, backhoe operators, storage unit rentals, right-of-way permitting personnel, general liability and workers’ compensation insurers, lumberyards, steel rebar suppliers and installers, handicap-access ramp builders, inspectors, retaining-wall formers, constructors and layers of drainage channels covers and pipe, water and sewer cover extenders and utility locators and relocators — to name just a few!
A college degree — as it did with Benjamin Braddock in 1967 — does not insure a job or preparation for the employment market! But in these difficult economic times, opportunity may just be found in the word “sidewalks,” and not the in the word “plastics.”