Jennifer King is a managing editor for Pumps & Systems magazine.
WEF says bipartisan effort is needed to increase funding for water infrastructure.
Loop: Everyone can add their individual voice during Infrastructure Week and throughout the year. There are lots of ways to tell a story about our infrastructure, how it impacts us, and the ways we need to fix, modernize and rebuild it. The organizers of Infrastructure Week have provided a toolkit to assist. Write to members of Congress and ask them to support critical infrastructure investments or policies. Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, arrange an interview with a local radio station or post to social media. WEF also held a webinar with the organizers of Infrastructure Week and the Value of Water Campaign to share results of public opinion polls and focus groups, provide advice on communications tactics and suggest activities for advocacy. This webinar is recorded and available to access.
P&S: What is WEF doing to help address the skills gap issue that many infrastructure jobs in the water sector are facing?
Loop: WEF recognizes the need for the water sector to develop a sustainable workforce, particularly as large sections of the current workforce are approaching retirement age and new skills are needed as water technology and operations evolve. WEF has called on the administration and Congress to promote workforce development through training, internship, apprenticeship and career pathway programs. WEF is also sharing examples of best practices in workforce development with utilities across the country so they can be replicated. For example, WEF recently shared the story of BAYWORK and of an initiative to hire veterans through the Words On Water podcast.
WEF has nationally launched a jobs program that provides training and certification in the field of green infrastructure, a fast-growing approach used to reduce stormwater pollution and revitalize communities. The National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) is available nationwide after development of the program by WEF and co-founder DC Water, along with 14 other water utilities, which led to the initial certification of more than 250 individuals, many of whom have secured permanent employment in the field. NGICP establishes national requirements for working on green infrastructure projects, promotes a skilled green workforce, streamlines the process of connecting qualified talent to in-demand jobs and supports community-based job creation in U.S. cities. The nationwide launch of NGICP offers opportunities to become a certified individual, program partner, trainer, supporter of certifications and sponsor. NGICP also seeks to work with philanthropic groups to reach under-represented members of the workforce and rural communities.