Water Environment Federation - American Water Works Association

Utilities Management Conference

Anaheim, California - February 26, 2019 

Panel on: “Strengthening and Diversifying the Water Quality Workforce:

Examining Real-World Pathway Programs into Sustainable Infrastructure Careers”

Building off discussions (over two years) involving nationwide workforce and infrastructure leaders in New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, and Chicago, we invited attendees at this joint WEF/AWWA Conference to join us in a critical conversation about the present and future of the wider utilities industry workforce.

“Strengthening and Diversifying the Water Quality Workforce:

Examining Real-World Pathway Programs into Sustainable Infrastructure Careers”

 

Chair/Facilitator: Steven Currie, Workforce Consultant

 

Discussants

  1. Carolyn Ross, Workforce Development Manager at City of Charlotte, Charlotte Water, “Trust the Process: Lowering Barriers through Apprenticeships and a Pipeline Academy”

  2. Dion Jay (“DJ”) Brooker, Executive Director, Young Community Developers- “How the CityWorks Youth Program Works: San Francisco’s Sewer System Improvement Program”

  3. Wainella Isaacs, Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Diversity and Inclusion Programs, University of South Florida, “Stand for Something: Using Your Agency for the Greater Good”

  4. Drew Lehman, Principal, Environment and Education, “National Infrastructure Workforce Models”

  5. Ifetayo Venner, Arcadis, Vice President, WEF Trustee “WEF’s Workforce Program Overview”

 

Abstract

 

Building a strong and diverse talent pipeline is an ongoing challenge facing utilities nationwide that requires initiatives to: 

 

• Recruit, train and retain entry-level, front-line and mid-career employees 

• Build and support career advancement pathways for workers with mission-critical technical expertise and skills. 

• Invest in leadership development and succession planning 

• Increase industry diversity and inclusiveness to enhance access to water and utility industry careers for women and minorities, and for people from communities across the socio-economic spectrum. 

 

This interactive session examined efforts from a variety of perspectives in pursuit of a unifying model that can guide strategy and investments. Presentations from each of our panelists were followed by a roundtable discussion.

 

Building off discussions (over two years) involving nationwide workforce and infrastructure leaders in New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, and Chicago, we invited attendees to join us in a critical conversation about the present and future of the wider utilities industry workforce.