Two of America's leading bodies for professional engineers have teamed up with Engineers Without Borders to launch a volunteer organisation with the goal of addressing the infrastructure needs of small, disadvantaged communities.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association and Engineers Without Borders USA have announced the establishment of the Community Engineering Corps (CEC), with the goal of addressing the critical infrastructure needs of remote and disadvantaged communities throughout America.

The CEC will provision volunteer engineers who will use their knowledge and expertise to cater to the infrastructure requirements of communities in need, thus helping to improve  the living standards of their inhabitants.

The corps expects to have thousands of volunteer engineers at its disposal for the provision of engineering services on a pro bono basis. Its services will only be provided to those communities which lack the financial wherewithal to obtain engineering solutions via conventional means, and will assume the form of a collaborative partnership which will seek to address those problems identified by communities themselves.

Peter Waugh

Peter Waugh

Peter Waugh, domestic program director for EWB-USA, hailed the immense potential of the new engineering corps to help disadvantaged communities by bringing together two of the top professional bodies for engineers in the country.

“Our ability to achieve our vision of building a better world is strengthened and accelerated through our alliance with the other two premier engineering organisations in America,” he said.

According to Randall S. Over, president of the ASCE, the corps is already providing its assistance to a number of pilot projects in  parts of the US, including the development of a sanitation system for isolated residences on a Navajo Reservation, as well as efforts to reduce the impact of flooding on a building.

Over points out that in addition to lending assistance directly to needy communities, the projects will also provide excellent training grounds for the next generation of engineering talent.

“Working under the guidance of experienced engineers, this initiative will provide young civil engineers unique opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience in the field, while giving back and making a tangible difference in the lives of those living in undeserved communities here in the United States,” he said.