Hiring veterans into water workforce a focus at AWWA’s ACE12

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2012 State of the Water Industry Report finds workforce to among top concerns

DALLAS, TX -- With the water sector workforce aging, water utilities and government agencies will explore how to bring veterans into the water workforce during the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12), June 10-14, in Dallas, Texas.

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are seen as excellent candidates to fill mission critical jobs at water utilities. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Veterans Commission will be present in the Dallas Convention Center lobby and during a technical session to help water utilities learn what veterans can bring to the water sector.

“We want all water professionals to be aware of veterans as a valuable labor pool and to learn how to access this important resource,” said Katie McCain, chair of the AWWA Veterans’ Workforce Initiative Subcommittee and a past president of the Association.

A technical session on Tuesday afternoon, “Workforce Development:  How to Access and Develop New Labor Pools,” will feature a panel discussion titled, “Building the Bridge between Veterans and Water Utilities Seeking Leadership Candidates.”  Members of the panel will include representatives from AWWA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Department of Veterans Affairs, the Texas Veterans Commission, and water professionals who are veterans. They will discuss why water employers should seek out veterans, the various programs to assist veterans and employers, and how to navigate the bureaucracies that are involved with veterans’ career placement.

Workforce concerns continue to bubble up among the top issues in AWWA’s 2012 State of the Water Industry Report, which will be released in the June 2012 Journal American Water Works Association.  As outlined in the Water Research Foundation’s 2010 Water Sector Workforce Sustainability Initiative Report, with the anticipated retirements of the Baby Boomers the water sector expects to lose 30-50 percent of its experienced workforce within the next 10 years.

Working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Veterans Commission, AWWA is also providing opportunities for veterans to meet with water professionals during the conference.

Additional information about ACE12 is available at www.awwa.org/ace12.  More information on water sector workforce opportunities for veterans is available on the Work for Water website, www.workforwater.org, a joint project of AWWA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.

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