EPA Announces Selections for $3.8 Million in Grant Funding to Help Build Water Workforce

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the selection of 10 organizations to receive a total of $3.8 million in funding under a new grant program that will help build the water workforce by connecting individuals to jobs in the drinking water and wastewater utility sectors and expanding public awareness about the benefits of careers providing vital water services.

“Workers at water and wastewater treatment utilities provide a service that is absolutely essential to public health, the environment, and economic prosperity in their communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox.“The water sector is facing significant workforce challenges, and it is critical that the EPA and its federal, state, and local partners invest in the next generation of water professionals.”

The water industry is facing wide-spread shortages of qualified workers due to expected retirements, new investments in the nation’s physical infrastructure, and new technical and scientific skill sets required to operate and maintain these systems. These grants will expand public awareness about job opportunities in the drinking water and wastewater utility sector and will address the workforce needs of drinking water and wastewater utilities.

The EPA is pleased to announce that the selected recipients for the 2020 and 2021 Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program include:

  • Amigos De Los Rios (California)
  • East Central University (Oklahoma)
  • Rowan University (New Jersey)
  • Wichita State University (Kansas)
  • Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan)
  • Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government (Ohio)
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (Washington State)
  • Syracuse University (New York)
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (Washington D.C.)
  • American Water Works Association (Denver)

Projects that will be funded under this competition include:

  • Targeted internship, apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and post-secondary bridge programs
  • Education programs designed for elementary, secondary, and higher education students
  • Regional industry and workforce development collaborations to address water utility employment needs and coordinate candidate development
  • Integrated learning laboratories in secondary educational institutions
  • Leadership development, occupational training, mentoring, or cross-training programs that ensure incumbent drinking water and wastewater utility workers are prepared for higher-level supervisory or management-level positions

The EPA anticipates that it will make awards to the 10 recipients once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

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Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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