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Joseph Gutenson & Andrew Ernest Environmental Institute The University of Alabama Jana Fattic Center for Water Resource Studies Western Kentucky University.

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Presentation on theme: "Joseph Gutenson & Andrew Ernest Environmental Institute The University of Alabama Jana Fattic Center for Water Resource Studies Western Kentucky University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Joseph Gutenson & Andrew Ernest Environmental Institute The University of Alabama Jana Fattic Center for Water Resource Studies Western Kentucky University

2 Outline The Need for New Blood in the Profession What is the Water Training Institute (WTI)? Degree Program Requirement's Content Delivery Student Incentives Industry Linkages Program Outcomes

3 The Need for New Blood in the Profession 2004 American Water Works Association (AWWA) State of the Industry Report survey found that Average age of certified operators = 50 years of age Most planned to retire within 10 years Subsequent AWWA state of the industry reports have continued to express concern for looming workforce shortfall One of the top five concerns facing industry Economic downturn may have delayed the retirement of some but crisis still looms

4 “The effects of the retiring Baby Boomer generation have been exacerbated in the water industry. Competition for employees entering the workforce from colleges and trade schools is fierce.” American Water Works Association State of the Industry Report, 2008

5 The Need for New Blood in the Profession Growing Need for Water/Wastewater Operators Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job pool will increase by 12% (about average) Lack of Qualified Applications Franione & Good (2008) study found that 75-76% of survey respondents have trouble recruiting new operators 79% reported this was due to a shrinking applicant pool 82% cited “other issues” such has high turnover rates and poor of reading and math skills among new hires AWWA and Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) also document that current applicants lack necessary technical knowledge Viewed as “Trade of Last Resort”

6 The Need for New Blood in the Profession Increasing Need for More Competent Technical Knowledge Currently operator certification requires secondary education and completion of state-certified examination AWWA and WERF (2008) report that due to growing plant automation and technological advancements profession is likely to become a more technical occupation This indicates that the occupation is in transition from a historically manual labor industry to a more knowledge- based practice Increasing state and federal regulatory requirements

7 The Need for New Blood in the Profession All of this equates to the beginnings of a workforce shortfall crisis AWWA and United States Environmental Protection Agency (2008) report that 41% of operator positions are unfilled

8 The Need for New Blood in the Profession

9 What is Water Training Institute (WTI)? On-line Associates Degree Program offered through Western Kentucky University (WKU) Training for new and existing Operators NSF ATE grant to develop program Additional funding from EPA Can roll into Bachelors and/or Masters Certificate Program Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

10 Degree Program Requirement’s 60 Hours of Academic Credit 15 Hours – General Education 21 Hours – Science Core 24 Hours – Concentration Specific: 2 Tracks Water Operations Wastewater Operations Experiential Component Included Education requirement's are driven by industry input

11 Content Delivery Hybrid Experiential & Distance Learning Educational Model (HEDLEM) Hands-on requirement Internships with local utilities Geographically dispersed need On-line classes and forums

12 Student Incentives Internships One college credit hour for every 80 hours of supervised work-based experience Employer must complete student evaluation form Scholarships Trade Associations Utilities – tuition reimbursement Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Articulation

13 Industry Linkages Programmatic Direction – driven by practitioners Steering Committee Employment Sector – DW/WW utilities Trade Associations – local TAs linked to national organizations (i.e., AWWA) State Primacy Agencies (i.e., ADEM) Educators – WKU, Community Colleges, Training Providers

14 Industry Linkages (cont’d.) Subcommittees Curriculum Recruitment & Student Success Replication & Sustainability Certifications & Policy Programmatic Success – defined by value placed on graduates

15 Program Outcomes As of Fall 2012 Enrollment has increased to 6 times the initial Fall 2009 amount 16 students were WTI majors 6 students had completed degree requirements One student had completed bachelor’s degree Of the 6 students that have finished their associate’s degree, 5 have either been hired immediately or chose to continue their education

16 Program Outcomes (cont.) Expansion of curriculum to other educational entities Mountwest Community & Technical College Reduction in Overhead Costs for Students Instructors are moving to “open courseware”

17 Questions? WTI-0999


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