EPA hosted a series of webinars highlighting ways in which many organizations across the water sector are implementing programs to help utilities as they address their own workforce challenges.
View recordings of previous webinars below:
- Technology Adoption at Utilities (December 2020)
- Role of State and Local Workforce Boards (September 2020)
- Utility Workforce Diversity Program (June 2020)
- Project WET Assistance to Utilities (February 2020)
- People Are a Utility’s Most Important Asset (October 2019)
- Achieving and Maintaining Economic and Social Health for the Community (May 2019) (May 2019)
Every day, water service providers tackle complex challenges, such as aging water infrastructure, extreme weather events, water shortages, rising costs, increasing customer demands, and cyber security. Water sector utilities serve as “anchor institutions” in their communities and are implementing new and exciting technologies to address these pressing challenges. As utilities adopt these new technologies, they also need to invest in their most important resource: their staff. It is critically important that employees receive training and support to ensure the water workforce remains efficient and resilient.
In this webinar, U.S. EPA and speakers from two leading organizations discuss the motivations, challenges, and benefits they are experiencing as they work with their own employees and others to ensure their people get the best support possible to meet the technology and water quality challenges of the 21st century.
U.S. EPA, Office of Wastewater Management:
Wynne Miller, Deputy Office Director
Jim Horne, Sustainable Utilities Program Manager
MCES (Twin Cities, Minnesota):
Kim Borman-Krinhop, Assistant Manager, Performance Excellence and Analytics
Scott Bowes, Assistant Manager, Training
Tyler Naughton, Business Systems Analyst
Todd Tokar, Program Supervisor
WaterTower (Gwinnett County, Georgia):
Kristan VandenHeuvel, Strategic Director of Research and Engagement
Chad Wilbanks, Strategic Director of Training and Technology
Workforce development boards are made up of members of the business community, local community colleges, elected officials, and workforce program leaders. State and local workforce boards serve as connectors between the U.S. Department of Labor and local American Job Centers that deliver services to workers and employers. Workforce boards can help water and wastewater utilities improve recruitment and training efforts as well as apprenticeship programs to develop and maintain a resilient workforce.
In this webinar, the National Association of Workforce Boards presents information about what workforce boards do for communities across the country and how water and wastewater utilities can get connected to their valuable expertise and resources. In addition, members of WorkForce Central, part of the Pierce County Workforce Development Council in Tacoma, WA, present their experiences working with area water and wastewater utilities to develop apprenticeship and training programs.
Ron Painter, President and CEO, National Association of Workforce Board
Katie Condit, CEO, WorkForce Central (Tacoma, Washington)
Nathaniel Lawver, Chair, Workforce Development Pipeline Committee, Tacoma/Pierce County EDB & LiUNA Local 252
Utility leaders across the country are embracing the opportunity to develop a more diverse workforce that is representative of the communities they serve. The benefits of a more diverse workforce are can be realized by both and smaller utilities alike. In this webinar, EPA and its partners discuss the benefits two utilities see every day as a result of their commitment to diversity in the workforce.
Jennifer Zuchowski from Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) in St. Paul, Minnesota describes various diversity programs underway to train and hire women electricians. Howard Carter and Stacy Thompson from the Saco Maine Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saco, Maine describe how focusing on employee development has enabled their organization to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
Saco Water Resource Recovery Department:
Howard Carter, Director
Stacy Thompson, Deputy Director
Metropolitan Council of Twin Cities, Minnesota:
Jennifer Zuchowski, Programs and Administration Manager
Dr. Mitzi Kennedy, Equity Manager
Nancy Jennings, Human Resources Manager
Suidi Hashi, Associate Outreach Coordinator
Matt Hiatt, Program Supervisor
Juan Berry and Jacquelyn Lebeis, Interceptor Service Worker
Chuck LaPierre, Manager Electrical Maintenance
Mustafa Shabazz, Electrician Apprentice
Recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce is one of the most important challenges facing today’s water and wastewater utilities. It often takes many partners to create a truly sustainable and motivated workforce.
In this webinar, EPA and its partners discuss how utilities can collaborate with to reach the next generation of the water workforce.
Julia Beck, Vice President of Networks, Project Wet Foundation, has developed educational resources for the organization and provided trainings.
April Lopez, Water Conservation Education Specialist, El Paso Water, works with teachers across multiple school districts and leads programming for field trips and in-classroom visits.
Cindy Busche, Environmental Education Manager, Boise WaterShed Education Center, has developed and teaches programs about water protection and water conservation.
Julia Beck, Vice President, Project Wet
April Lopez, Water Conservation Education Specialist, El Paso Water
Cindy Busche, Environmental Education Manager, Boise WaterShed Education Center
They say it takes a village to create a family. Recruiting, retaining, and motivating a talented and diverse workforce is one of the most important challenges facing today’s water and wastewater utilities. As these utilities confront this challenge, it often takes many partners to create a truly sustainable and motivated workforce. Without this kind of workforce, our precious water infrastructure assets will suffer, as will the benefits of clean and safe water for our communities.
In this webinar, EPA and its partners discuss how one utility, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) in Virginia, is working with the Hampton Roads Public Works Academy to help build a pipeline of diverse and motivated staff in many parts of the organization.
Hampton Roads Sanitation District:
Paula A Hogg, Director of Talent Management
Dorissa Pitts-Paige, Human Resources Business Partner
Mike Chapman, Plant Manager
Keegan Ankofski, Interceptor Systems Chief Maintenance Management
Anita Hardy, Plant Operator
The landscape that has traditionally driven clean water utilities is changing rapidly. Today’s utility managers are no longer just treating and discharging wastewater. They are looking for ways to optimize their efficiency through new technology and data, recover valuable resources, provide meaningful employment opportunities, and enhance their contribution to the overall health of watersheds and their communities.
In this webinar, NACWA, WEF, U.S. EPA, WateReuse, and WRF describe how leading clean water utilities are using innovative approaches to enhance the overall economic and social well-being of their operations and communities.
Andrada Butler, Administrative Service Manager, City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
Mark Poling, Director of Business Operations, Clean Water Services
- Technology Adoption at Utilities - Presentation Slides (PDF)(53 pp, 7 MB, December 2020)
- Role of State and Local Workforce Boards - Presentation Slides (PDF)(38 pp, 6 MB, September 2020)
- Utility Workforce Diversity Program - Presentation Slides (PDF)(53 pp, 4 MB, June 2020)
- Project WET Assistance to Utilities - Presentation Slides (PDF)(60 pp, 13 MB, February 2020)
- People Are a Utility’s Most Important Asset - Presentation Slides (PDF)(47 pp, 3 MB)
- Achieving and Maintaining Economic and Social Health for the Community - Presentation Slides (PDF)(50 pp, 7 MB)