Perhaps no aspect of water and wastewater treatment is more important than the workforce that performs the day-to-day work needed to provide safe drinking water and to protect our public waterways.
For this reason, WEF has collected 21 case studies demonstrating the ways in which the best-in-class water utilities across the country have implemented innovation to optimize the performance of their water workforces. In addition, this compendium has a special focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our national water workforce. It is the hope of WEF that as many utility managers as possible review these case studies and look for opportunities to improve their enterprise through replication or adaptation.
The case studies follow the entire life cycle of the water utility workforce, as follows:
- Water sector educational programs and internships that help to inform the public about the work that water utilities are doing to protect the public health and the environment, and also inform potential workers of the future about the range of job opportunities that are available in the water sector.
- Equitable water workforce recruitment practices designed to create “employment pipelines” to our utilities from the very communities that they serve.
- Employment optimization programs designed to ensure that each employee has the opportunity to reach their potential.
- Capture of institutional knowledge is also essential to make sure that the experience of the water workforce is retained within the utility, even when mission-critical employees depart.
As you will see in this collection of case studies, water utilities can, and should, act to provide equitable opportunities to everyone in the communities that they serve ... and equitable opportunities for advancement for every worker that they employ.
WEF plans to continue to collect case studies in the future so that this water workforce compendium remains a living document that reflects the best workforce practices of the water sector on an ongoing basis. If you would like to contribute a case study to be added to our compendium, please contact me at [email protected].
Many thanks to the utility leaders who contributed to this compendium of water workforce case studies, and most of all to the water sector workers who are featured in these stories.