At the close of the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE08), incoming AWWA president Mike Leonard announced the “Water Sector Workforce Sustainability Initiative,” a project designed to better define and address the challenges to water workforce sustainability.“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,” Leonard said in a press release. “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.

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 together AWWA volunteer leaders and workforce experts from other industries to review relevant research and develop a sector-wide workforce strategy.

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