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Q: Who should apply?
A: All professionals in the water sector (drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater), such as utility staff, consulting engineers or service providers, regulators, academics, admin, or equipment manufacturers, are encouraged to apply. The Water Leadership Institute is a program for emerging leaders in the water sector, which may include young professionals, career changers, and veterans, for example. For seasoned utility management professionals looking to move to Executive Management Positions, please see the Water & Wastewater Leadership Center.
Q: When is the application due?
A: The 2024 application is open November 1st through 11:59pm Pacific Time on January 17, 2024.
Please note: If this is your first time applying, you will need to create a new account.
Q: How should I best answer the questions on the application?
A: The steering committee is looking to get to know you. The best applications are often personal, in first person, and give an insight into who you are as a person.
Q: What if I'm just starting out and have no leadership experience yet?
A: That is not a problem! Whether you were officially the leader or not, you've likely had some kind of leadership experience you can share. This could be in your personal, academic, or professional life. Let us know what you've done and what you're hoping to learn.
Q: Do I have to be a member of the Water Environment Federation to apply and participate?
A: No, you do not have to be a WEF member to apply to the WLI.
Q: My employer has questions, what should I tell them?
A: The WLI Steering Committee has developed "The Employer's Guide to WLI" to help explain what your participation means. Please feel free to download it and send it to your employer for approval.
Q: Is there a fee for the program?
A: There is no fee to apply to the program.
If you are accepted, you or your organization will be invoiced $1,235 for the program. This fee includes a full conference registration to WEFTEC 2024 in New Orleans (a $725 value), access to 6 live webcasts (a $240 value), and the two-day workshop in Alexandria (a $400 value). In addition, it includes monthly group chats, homework assignments, and putting together the final project. Program participants are responsible for all their own travel and hotel costs, as well as any fees for calling in from a phone.
Q: When will I get the invoice? When do I ned to pay?
A: You will receive an invoice shortly after you confirm your position in the Water Leadership Institute. This is often early April.
Once you recieve the invoice, you will have 30 days to pay. If this timeline is not possible, you must make special arrangements with WEF.
Q: Is there any funding assistance available?
A: In October 2017, the WEF Board created the George S. Hawkins Scholarship to the WEF Water Leadership Institute. The scholarship will be given annually to one participant in the Water Leadership Institute and highlights George’s commitment to developing future water sector leaders. This scholarship will cover the program’s full tuition.
The WEF Board has approved additional funds which will allow us to offer additional scholarships this year. These scholarships cover part or all of the tuition cost, and are need based. Funds will be allocated after the participants have been accepted to the program. The amount will be deducted from the tuition invoice. The total amount of funds available in 2024 is a max of 6 full scholarships.
All scholarships should be applied for via the application to the WLI.
Q: How much of a time commitment is the program?
A: This course runs from April 2024 - October 2024. There are six live webcasts throughout the months that last 1.5 hours. In addition, there is a group chat for 45 minutes each month. The in-person compontent (will be moved to virtual if the pandemic requires it) consists of a 2.5 day workshop in Alexandria May 9-10 with an optional half day event on May 8, and a 1 full day workshop at WEFTEC 2024 in New Orleans, Oct. 6.
In addition, you will have to complete a final group project with deliverables throughout the course. Participants have often held weekly meetings for 30-60 mins. In recent years, a portion of the final project work has continued after the official end of the program and resulted in articles in the WE&T as well as webcast series with live dates after WEFTEC.
Q: Who will I be learning from?
A: The curriculum will be delivered by high caliber guest instructors from water and wastewater utilities and companies active in the sector. Guest lecturers from government agencies, communication firms and financial groups will also share their knowledge and experience.
Q: What kind of equipment will I need to participate in the in the monthly web meetings?
A: The web based meetings will be conducted using Teams and Zoom. You will need a computer with and internet connection for the web meetings. You will need computer speakers to use the Voice over IP audio function. You will also need internet access for readings viewing and online forum participation.
Q: What is the goal of the Water Leadership Institute?
A: As the water sector faces challenges from aging infrastructure, climate change, financial constraints, and increased demands, professionals who can develop and implement solutions to these issues are needed. The Water Leadership Institute is designed to encourage networking, innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from those individuals who will be leading the water sector into the coming decades, to preserve and enhance water resources for our current generation, as well as future generations.
Q: Who should I contact regarding the Water Leadership Institute?
A: Julianne Jones at WLI@wef.org