A Proposal for Solving the Employee Shortage Dilemma

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A Proposal for Solving the Employee Shortage Dilemma

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It has been widely recognized that the water and wastewater industry is facing critical manpower shortages. The “why” has been related to the lack of marketing of the industry, poor perception of the jobs, a simple lack of visibility, and many other issues. Regardless of the cause, the “why” is often discussed, but it is not our challenge. Our challenge is the “how” — how do we change this situation?

There are emerging programs in community colleges, apprenticeships offered by employers, state sponsored programs, and other disjointed options for learning about the industry and offering points of entry. Each is of its own design and each offers its own strategy.

Water Otter is developing a program to engage with these same types of organizations to encourage the creation of a core curriculum that is recognizable to potential employers and is designed to prepare participants to pass their first level operator exams. Providing this type of clear pathway to employment incentivizes participation and provides a solid base for starting a new career in the water and wastewater industry.

In order for this type of program to be most successful, it is important to recognize that not everyone learns in the same ways and not all material can be effectively presented in only one format. There needs to be a program of continual study embracing a combination of online study content, reference materials, live presentations (virtual or in-person), and peer participation. Water Otter is proposing that creating programs around these types of diverse study can be effective in successfully engaging with participants and driving their success; and promoting it at the high school and first-year college level, in under-served communities, to service veterans moving into civilian life, and to other groups where finding job opportunities presents a challenge. 

Finally, Water Otter is appealing to industry and to the public to support this effort by contributing to the development of the programs and student scholarships.  

Water Otter is proud to take an active role in driving these programs and encourages you to reach out to join in our efforts.

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