Water Sector Workforce Webinars
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:
- Women in Water - The Leadership Journey Forward (June 2022)
- Retaining a Strong and Resilient Water Workforce (May 2022)
- Creating the Digital Water Workforce of the Future (March 2022)
- Developing and Maintaining Workforce and Equity Partnerships at Water Utilities (September 2021)
- Cultivating a Positive Workforce Culture from Apprenticeship to Career (April 2021)
- 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)
The webinar is a panelist discussion and attendee question and answer session from three leading water sector women on their career paths within the water sector, the unique challenges that they encountered in their employment journey and tips and tricks they have for other women in this sector. The three panelists are Karen Pallansch the General Manager for Alexandria Renew Enterprises, Stacy Thompson the Deputy Director for Saco Water Resource Recovery Department, and Genevieve Ramirez the Communications Manager for Moulton Niguel Water District.
Retaining a Strong and Resilient Water Workforce
The webinar describes programs at two leading water sector utilities to attract a retain employees through effective training, career path development, and other strategies. The two utilities are WaterOne in Johnson County, Kansas and the Central Utah Water Conservation District in Orem, Utah.
The webinar features two speakers talking about the importance of building a technologically competent workforce at water utilities. This competence is an essential element of a skillset necessary for water utility workers to effectively and efficiently manage infrastructure and ensure clean and safe water for their communities. The webinar is part of an ongoing webinar series from EPA to highlight and share information about ways in which utilities are addressing their workforce challenges. These webinars are an important part of EPA’s Water Workforce Strategy, issued in 2021.
Shane Zondor, City of Fort Worth, Texas, discusses digital transformation and the workforce.
Catherine Curtis, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, California, discusses using digital tools to deliver water services.
Developing and Maintaining Workforce and Equity Partnerships at Water Utilities (September 2021)
The workforce challenges facing the water sector can only be addressed by strong and sustainable partnerships that also focus on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Water jobs at utilities offer good pay, security, and a real opportunity to make a difference in our communities.
Candi Jones, Philadelphia Water Department, describes an innovative partnership with PowerCorps Philadelphia to attract and retain men and women from disadvantaged communities into meaningful careers.
Andy Kricun, formerly the director of the Camden County Municipal Authority (CCMUA), and now with Moonshot Missions, describes a developing partnership with organizations across New Jersey to develop a state-wide water workforce program involving state agencies, utilities, NGOs, community colleges, and others to help address the acute need for water workers across the state.
- Developing and Maintaining Workforce and Equity Partnerships at Water Utilities - Presentation Slides (pdf)
A career in the water sector offers meaningful and challenging work that makes a difference in local communities. By building an inclusive and supportive workplace that encourages employee growth from apprenticeship to career, the sector can attract and retain the qualified candidates it needs.
Joone Lopez, Moulton-Niguel Water District (MNWD), describes her organization’s journey to build a culture that allowed MNWD to become recognized as one of the outstanding water utilities in the country.
Tim Friday and Eric Dunker, Castle Rock Water and Arapahoe Community College, describe a utility/community college partnership that trains and places students into jobs in the water workforce.
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