National Public Works Week is observed during the third full week of May to recognize the importance of public works in an organized society. This year, it takes place from May 15 to 21. The week-long observation also sheds light on the brave and essential role that the public works employees play in our lives. By definition, public works are the state-funded physical and social infrastructure of a country. From the sanitation of our roads to the dams and power grids, public works are an indispensable part of any developed society.
History of Public Works Week
A stable society and a functioning public works unit are Interdependent. Since the time of the Roman empire, governments have relied on establishing systems that serve society through welfare programs and essential services. These systems enable the citizens to perform business and conduct their personal lives in peace. Likewise, a healthy public works unit contributes to the elevation of the quality of life.
Public works in broad terms can be viewed as the recreational, aesthetical, and economic investments made to ease the lives of citizens in a republic. Public works also include the social safety net programs offered by the government to elevate low-income families out of poverty and detriment. From the head of the state to the governor, all the way to the local county officials and municipal board — the entire body of government is engaged in public works through a tier system.
Soon after the crash of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ushered in a new wave of expanded government services and utility investments that changed the course of public works in the U.S. The F.D.R. administration also modified the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works and renamed it Public Works Administration in 1935. The deployment of a robust economic package that employed the public and strengthened private businesses helped the U.S. make its way out of the Great Depression. Subsequently, a cohort of public works leaders formed the American Public Works Association (A.P.W.A.) in 1937.
In 1960, the A.P.W.A. received an official endorsement from the United States Senate and organized the first Public Works Week. Six decades after its establishment, the A.P.W.A. continues to be the biggest voice for public works employees. Every year, a theme is allotted for National Public Works Week, the most recent being ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘The Rhythm of Public Works.’
Public Works Week timeline
President Roosevelt introduces a series of social security programs and reignites the essence of public works in the United States.
The F.D.R. administration invests $6 billion in infrastructure projects through the Public Works Administration.
The public works personnel join hands to form the American Public Works Association (A.P.W.A.).
The A.P.W.A. marks the third full week of May as National Public Works Week to celebrate the public utility investments in the country.
Public Works Week FAQs
What constitutes public work?
Public works is the state-funded social and physical infrastructure instituted by the government. It includes law and order, energy, recreation, and economy. It is a broad term that includes the sanitation facilities to the dams and roads of a country.
Who funds the public works?
Public work is run through taxation money. There are different tiers of public work, from municipal services to the federal government, and all are funded separately.
When was the American Public Works Association established?
The A.P.W.A. was established in 1937 to promote professional awareness about public works. It’s based in Missouri, United States. The organization has 30,000 active members spread throughout Canada and the U.S.
How to Observe Public Works Week
Thank the first responders
The first responders of our community deserve all the appreciation in the world. As we recover from a devastating pandemic, let’s express our gratitude to those who stood on the frontlines throughout these uncertain times.
Send love to your local A.P.W.A. members
The American Public Works Association has 55 chapters in all major cities of the U.S. and Canada and has over 30,000 members. If one of these chapters is within your reach, show your appreciation with a batch of fresh cookies and a heart full of gratitude.
Give a social media shoutout
We often take the public works that surround us for granted. During National Public Works Week, you can post a photo each day, appreciating the essential services and infrastructure such as parks, the post office, public playgrounds, e.t.c. — with the hashtag #NPWW.
5 Important Facts About Public Works Facilities
The courthouse and the prison system
The entire law and order of a city is a public works investment run under the purview of state and federal governments.
Community hospitals and subsidized healthcare clinics
The subsidized health care clinics of your neighborhood are owned and operated by the municipal administrators; therefore they are public works.
Public schools and community colleges
Public works include access to public schools and state-funded colleges for students of any income group.
Parks and libraries
Parks also fall under the purview of public works.
Electricity and power grids
The power grid infrastructure is public works and is budgeted, regulated, and monitored by the state government.
Why Public Works Week is Important
It honors the unsung heroes
Public works employees keep the water running in our homes. They often work through long stretches of shifts and are always on call for emergencies. The objective of National Public Works Week is to honor the services of the heroes who live among us.
It runs the economy
Public works empower the citizens of a nation with stability and security, making it possible to become contributing members of society. It also provides direct employment to thousands of workers, all the while adding to the public infrastructure and services of the country.
It raises their concerns
The American Public Works Association voices the concerns of local, state, and federal public works professionals throughout North America. Through the collective support of 30,000 members, the association utilizes the week-long observation to fight for fair wages, better working hours, and hazard pay.
Public Works Week dates