AWWA Gears Up Workforce Sustainability Project

American Water Works Association President Mike Leonard recently said that the group will partner with Awwa Research Foundation to better define and address the looming challenges to water workforce sustainability.

This initiative, "Water Sector Workforce Sustainability Initiative," will support the efforts of AWWA's existing Workforce Strategies Committee and other council and committee workforce programs.

"This project will help the entire water sector better understand the challenges ahead of us as we face reality of an aging and changing workforce," said Leonard. "It also shows that the water sector is truly committed to putting our full energy and significant resources into addressing the workforce challenges ahead of us."

The project's steering committee will include members of AWWA's newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Water Sector Workforce Strategies and other utility leaders from North America. The Ad Hoc Committee was created to complement existing AWWA efforts and to identify funding to address sector-wide water workforce issues.

Leonard cited addressing workforce concerns as one of his chief priorities during his term. "We need to provide our members with all the training and tools to deal with this challenge," he said. "And AWWA needs to take concrete steps to make jobs in the water industry more attractive in a competitive marketplace."

The project will analyze mission-critical work classifications that are at risk, explore organizational processes that must be strengthened to address those risks, and propose strategies that should be implemented at the utility, regional, and national levels to achieve workforce sustainability.

The initiative will include a workshop that brings AWWA volunteer leaders and workforce experts from other industries together to review relevant research and develop a sector-wide workforce strategy.

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