SGA’s Emerging Professionals Program: A Foundation for Careers in Retail Architecture and Beyond

At SGA, we strive to equip our team members with tools for career success. When we created our Emerging Professionals Program, we set out to provide financial aid, mentorship and continuing education opportunities to retail architectural professionals with advancing careers.  Since then, we’ve been recognized numerous times by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for our professional development programs. Here’s a closer look at how we support up-and-comers.

The journey to become an architect is not an easy one. Even after attaining an accredited degree in architecture, significant time, money and experience are required to get licensed. We help our emerging professionals along the way by providing on-the-job training, study materials, paid time off to take exams and reimbursement of exam fees.

In addition to these benefits, we pride ourselves on providing valuable mentorship experiences.  For emerging retail architecture professionals engaged in the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), a guide for gaining and tracking professional experience, SGA assigns a mentor who has gone through the licensure process within the past 5-10 years. We believe this allows the mentor to provide relevant guidance, and act as a sounding board and advocate for our emerging retail architecture professionals. These efforts are supported by our SGA Academy, which offers bi-weekly sessions for emerging professionals.  These sessions provide an opportunity to achieve AXP hours that might otherwise be difficult to achieve during the normal work setting

And our support doesn’t stop there. Once licensed, emerging professionals are given an all expenses paid trip to attend the national AIA Conference on Architecture, along with a custom piece commemorating their achievement. In our endeavor to promote learning in retail architecture, we also provide continuing education opportunities through in-house seminars and classes led by industry professionals.

We believe the combination of financial aid, mentorship and continuing education opportunities provides a unique opportunity for emerging professionals in retail architecture and beyond. At the end of 2017, our firm was recognized by the AIA Central States Region as an Emerging Professional Friendly Firm and by AIA Oklahoma as an Exemplary AXP Friendly Firm. As we move forward, we are constantly considering ways to strengthen this professional development program.