Rural Water Partner Pledge: Committing to the Future
Those of us in the Water and Wastewater industry are sure to be aware of the many workforce challenges that we face together as an industry. Our industry is slated to lose between 30-50% of our workforce this decade. NRWA asks that you join us by signing the pledge below, in a national effort and campaign that focuses on the positive benefits of building a more diverse workforce.
I, the undersigned, do pledge on behalf of (company) to support the efforts of (state association) to actively work to diversify our industry and to provide equality, inclusion, and accessibility for those seeking opportunities through the Registered Apprenticeship pathway. We pledge to embody and model these DEIA principles so that every service-minded individual feels welcomed and supported in our industry to succeed and achieve their goals.
To fulfill the pledge, your utility/organization can take the below actions to achieve the goals of promoting opportunity for all, eliminating barriers to entry into apprenticeship, and providing meaningful opportunities to succeed for people underrepresented in apprenticeship:
Revise Recruitment and Talent Attraction Strategies
- Hold intential conversations with your State Registered Apprenticeship Program Coordinator about outreach efforts in your community, such as reaching out to local K-12 schools, workforce agencies, community-based organizations, and others in your community.
Promote Fair and Equitable Hiring Practices
- Engage human resources staff and hiring managers on implementing contemporary DEIA practices and make fair decisions regarding applicants without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or background.
- Review and revise human resources policies and practices to remove barriers for apprentices.
- Lead, join, or host apprenticeship opportunity events within your utility/organization or community.
- Share promising practices and success stories with other employers.
Take Action in Your Local Community
- Become a participating employer through your State Association’s Registered Apprenticeship Program reflecting the demographics of your community.
- Provide apprentices, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, with access to continued learning, development, and advancement opportunities that support career development and provide for more equitable outcomes for all.
Set an Example for Other Utilities/Organizations
- Promote your commitment to the pledge.
- Share and disseminate successes and lessons learned with your State Association Registered Apprenticeship Program, NRWA and neighboring communities to encourage other employers and stakeholders to reduce barriers that contribute to the advancement of apprenticeships for all Americans.
Benefits to Employers
Increased Creativity & Innovation – Diverse employees have different experiences, talents and skill sets to help organizations develop innovative and creative solutions. Organizations made up of individuals with the same or similar backgrounds and experiences may use standardized approaches to problem solving stifling innovation.
Employee Recruitment & Retention – Supporting diversity in the workplace helps retain and attract talent. Organizations that have a diverse workplace are often perceived as better employers. Potential employees want an employer who accepts and is tolerant of all backgrounds and who treats their employees fairly. An overwhelming majority of Millennials and Generation Z employees want to work at businesses that “improve society” by removing inequalities, leading diversity initiatives… By 2025 75% of the workforce will be millennials so employers will need to prioritize diversity.
Improved Decision Making, Productivity & Profitability – Research shows that diverse teams are better at making decisions than non-diverse teams. Diverse teams offer broader perspectives and bring more information to the table. Diversity in decision making equals increases in productivity and profitability.
Positive Reputation – Organizations that have diverse work environments often build positive reputations within the communities and markets they serve. Diversity creates a sense of belonging and inclusion which reflects positively on the business. Organizations that promote diversity and cultural awareness connect better with customer markets, build trust with clients more effectively and create positive brand images.
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