DUNCAN, Okla. — The National Rural Water Association, the nation’s largest water utility association with more than 31,000 members, will hold a ceremonial signing in conjunction with the United States Department of Labor Nov. 14 at 3:30 p.m. local time on the rooftop of 101 Constitution Avenue NW, to launch a new nation-wide apprenticeship program.
The DOL will provide support for the NRWA as it continues to build the WaterPro Apprenticeship Program, which is set to become a nationally-recognized standard.
Twelve NRWA state affiliates will jointly make the announcement at training events held across the nation for water and wastewater operations specialists These states are already working with to register their programs with the NRWA’s national guideline standard. The announcement and events will commemorate National Apprenticeship Week 2017 and will highlight the need for a national water sector apprenticeship initiative.
CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, will underwrite $250,000 to help establish the program.
It takes more than 380,000 highly-skilled water and wastewater personnel working to ensure the public supply of safe drinking water in the United States. Advancements in water treatment and supply technology have increased the skills and training required of this workforce. Water professionals are ultimately responsible for meeting stringent regulatory standards, replacing aging infrastructure, recruiting and training new operations specialists, and responding to and recovering from disasters.
The WaterPro Apprenticeship program will be tailored to the specific needs of water system operations specialists and wastewater system operations specialists.