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A water quality-focused pilot program in Fairfax County, Va., aims to connect untapped local talent with paid opportunities in stormwater management. Through Operation Stream Shield, a partnership between the municipal government and local homeless shelters, people attempting to join the workforce help enhance the local environment with part-time jobs clearing away litter from waterways and removing invasive plants.
According to the Brookings Institution (Washington, D.C.), as much as 50% of the current water workforce in the U.S. will retire within the next 35 years. 2019-2020 WEF President Jackie Jarrell provides details on ways WEF is working to attract and retain new talent.
Words on Water • Episode No. 114
Valerie Lucas is the Executive Director of the Clean Water Professionals of Kentucky & Tennessee. In this episode Valerie explains why the organization changed its name to better communicate with the public about the water sector’s work. She talks about collaborating with the Louisville water utilities and four breweries to create their version of Pure Water Brew called Next Round. Valerie also discusses how she has seen the role of women in water change during her career and why it is important to increase the number of women in the industry.
When the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) promoted a subtle shift in terminology from wastewater treatment plant to water resource recovery facility in 2013, for example, the organization formally recognized a long-underway change in focus from the problems water professionals solve to the products of their work.
The Water Environment Association of Kentucky & Tennessee made a similar move in October 2019, changing its name to the Clean Water Professionals of Kentucky & Tennessee (CWP-KT).
Words on Water • Episode No. 112
Sonja Michaluk is a high school student and the winner of the 2019 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the nation’s most prestigious youth competition for water-related research. In this episode Sonja discusses how she explored the use of DNA barcoding to measure the health of waterways with larval Chironomidae, the most widespread macroinvertebrate family. She talks about her interest in the intersection of science and public policy and making data the language of debate. Sonja tells how her research caused a town board to change the planned path of a roadway to avoid a healthy creek.
The Water Leadership Institute Class of 2019, the eighth class of the Institute, includes 54 water professionals representing 28 states, Canada, El Salvador, and the Cayman Islands. The graduates join 237 alumni of the program.
Twenty-two high-performing municipalities and one university received recognition in the fifth annual National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Awards. These awards celebrate administrators of municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) that perform beyond regulatory requirements.
The Water Environment Federation is pleased to offer a self-reported certificate and ribbon to WEFTEC attendees who attend at least three technical sessions related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Water professionals can attract support, funding, and engagement by understanding how to use public communications strategically. WEFTEC 2019 includes many sessions and workshops to help you make better use of this powerful tool.