The American Public Works Association convened a Body of Knowledge Task Force in October 2008 to develop a strategy and plan for identifying the body of knowledge in public works.   The Body of Knowledge Task Force was initiated based on the recommendations within the APWA Education and Certification Blueprint, adopted by the APWA Board of Directors in September 2007.

The Blueprint Task Force concluded that identifying the public works body of knowledge was key to implementing the APWA blueprint for education and certification, and could be beneficial to APWA in several other areas as well.  Through identifying the body of knowledge, APWA would identify the current state of knowledge in the industry and plan for advancement of it.  Specifically, it would enable APWA to establish:

  • recognition for public works as a distinct field with a unique body of knowledge,
  • a comprehensive framework for industry education and training,
  • a comprehensive framework for industry certification programs, and
  • a research agenda to advance the public works body of knowledge.

The Body of Knowledge Task Force drafted and deployed a survey to explore the scope and level of responsibility for all public works activities of governmental and private sector agencies within the U.S and Canada.   It is important to point out that this survey was not intended to determine the body of knowledge of any particular position or role within public works agencies; rather, the Task Force identified the comprehensive body of knowledge of public works agencies and sought to discover through the survey the extent to which public works agencies are responsible for various activities.

The Body of Knowledge Study is available to APWA members. To obtain a copy email Becky Stein at