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Water Infrastructure Act Helps Fund Training for New Workers

Posted by Venay Sehgal Bhatia on Nov 19, 2018

Water Infrastructure Act Helps Fund Training for New WorkersThe need for skilled workers to repair and maintain America’s infrastructure will only increase as that infrastructure continues to age. In fact, the growing number of infrastructure projects is likely to add 300,000 jobs across the country. However, finding enough workers to fill these vacancies is proving to be difficult, especially as the number of retirees continues to exceed the number of new workers. This problem is most apparent in municipalities where 30% of employees are expected to retire within the next decade.

In order to combat this labor deficit, the federal government included a grant in the 2018 Water Infrastructure Act (WIA) to help fund job training and workforce development programs. This grant was advocated for by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Water Agency Leaders Alliance, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Clean Water and other national organizations, and marks the first time a grant of this kind was included in a water infrastructure act.

The 2018 WIA, which passed on October 23, included a $1 million-per-year grant that would be available to municipalities with the goal of recruiting and training skilled workers to fill the much-needed positions. These careers usually offer full-time employment, medical and other benefits, and financial stability.

The biggest barrier for new workers is the training required to maintain and repair wastewater infrastructure. This grant attempts to relieve some of the financial pressure on municipalities looking to bring in new workers by helping to fund on-the-job training programs, apprenticeships and overall career development.

This grant is open to both rural and urban communities, with the goal of identifying and helping the ones most in need of training and job-placement programs. Champions of the grant also claimed it could increase diversity within the wastewater management industry.

Even as the wastewater industry faces a lack of skilled workers to run its infrastructure, there is also a pressing need to invest in fixing deteriorated infrastructure. With the introduction of this new grant, the federal government seeks to increase the number of new workers in the wastewater management field, maintain a skilled workforce and repair aging infrastructure.

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Topics: Training Insider

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