Washington, D.C. — According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recent reports indicate that more than 30 percent of the water and wastewater professionals will be retiring in the next 5 to 7 years. To address this growing concern, the EPA’s Office of Water collaborated with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and the Department of Labor to develop the Water Sector Competency Model. A competency model is one of the tools used by the Department of Labor to provide a clear description of what a person needs to know and be able to do (such as knowledge, skills, and abilities) to perform well in a specific job, occupation, or industry.
The Water Sector Competency Model is designed to increase the pool of certified and experienced water sector professionals through a variety of training and career advancement solutions.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), worked with AWWA, WEF, and EPA to guide and finalize the documentation required to showcase the water sector competency model as a resource for the workforce challenges facing high-growth industries. Having this model in place will help promote the water sector and ensure its recognition as a high-growth/high-demand green job sector among other federal agencies, job seekers, and academic institutions, EPA said.
AWWA and WEF said they are committed to supporting the competency-based training and certification in the water sector to ensure experienced and certified water sector professionals are available to support public water systems and wastewater treatment plants in the future. AWWA is supporting the initiative by engaging in a three-year research project that supports the improvement of the Water Sector Competency Model.