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Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Water Sector Workforce

Water sector professional

Water sector professionals are vital to protecting public health through the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants. They ensure that clean and safe water is consistently provided to the public. For this reason, EPA is concerned about predicted workforce losses to the industry through retirements. As stated in the Task Force on Workforce Sustainability Final Report (PDF) (27 pp, 256K, About PDF) Exit published by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), “It’s projected that in the next 10 years, 37 percent of the water utility workers and 31 percent of wastewater utility workers will retire.” As a result, EPA, states and industry organizations are working to promote the water sector and ensure that there is a pool of qualified water professionals to meet current and future needs.

  • From M.O.S. to J-O-B: A Guide for Applying Military Occupational Specialties (M.O.S.) to Civilian Drinking Water and Wastewater Operations (PDF) (23 pp, 5.4 MB) - While serving in the Armed Forces many veterans held Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) that directly or indirectly translate into the types of positions needed in the water sector. This guide highlights relevant MOSs and tips for water and wastewater utilities considering hiring veterans.
  • A Selection of Training Programs for Water and Wastewater Operators - This is a compilation of fact sheets describing training programs, internships, and mentoring programs that help new operators enter the water sector, as well as enhance the skills and knowledge of experienced operators. The fact sheets are intended to promote the sharing of ideas and best practices for industry professionals seeking to establish similar training programs. The fact sheets were developed by the Workforce/Operator Certification Workgroup (2011). The group included EPA, states, technical assistance providers and industry representatives and worked to address workforce issues and support operator certification programs. Two new fact sheets were added in FY2013.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Service - EPA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Veterans Affairs' Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service to work jointly on promotional activities to help connect Veterans with disabilities with career opportunities in the water sector. Both VR&E Service and EPA believe that working closely together on this effort will improve employment opportunities for veterans while supporting the development of a trained and competent workforce that is crucial to the long-term sustainability of the nation's water and wastewater systems.
  • EPA’s “Water You Waiting For?” - These videos showcase the water profession for high school and vocational technical school students. They highlight the water profession in four areas: the value of water, job responsibilities, career successes, and environmental coontribution.
  • Work for Water Campaign Exit - A public outreach campaign and web-based clearinghouse created by WEF and the American Water Works Association that informs the public about water careers and encourages students and job-seekers to consider a career in the water sector.