State of the Industry Increased need for critical thinking skills More technical Federal regulations Increased expectations in occupational and professional competencies More complex treatment processes New technologies Increased automation Need to elevate perception of operators and their importance
NRWA Quotes Utilities and other companies in the water industry are facing an impending mass exodus of senior workers the likes of which has never before been seen. The incoming workforce generation is small, and coupled with their high turnover rate and transient nature, means a shrinking pool of replacements and increased competition for those employees.
ATEEC Advanced Technology Environmental & Energy Center Resource center funded by NSF ATE to provide: Professional development Program improvement Curriculum design Instructional materials development Online resources clearinghouse
ATEEC Mission - To advance environmental and energy technology education through curriculum development, professional development and program improvement. Vision - To foster a network of educational communities, supported through public and private partnerships, that ensures human health, safety, and global sustainability.
Water Defining Workshop Approximately 20 SMEs with over 600 years of combined experience in the water industry Brainstorming session to define: Job titles Job functions
Workshop Outcomes Field: Water Environment Management Name: Water Professional Duties: Too Many to List!
Problem Statement Operator certification requires education and on-the-job experience Workforce needs (treatment plants) in rural areas Too dispersed to justify development of degree program at local institution
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
Significance Water treatment crucial to: rural economic development public and environmental health Growing industry: 15,000 jobs being created in the next 10 years Baby Boomers: 50% of operators will retire in next 7 years
Water Training Institute 2-year Degree Program On-line courses; hands-on internship Associate of Science in Water Resource Management New and existing operators Can transfer into Bachelors Certificate Program Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Degree Program 60 Hours of Academic Credit 15 Hours – General Education 21 Hours – Science Core 24 Hours – Concentration-Specific 3 Concentrations Water Operations Wastewater Operations Water Utility Management
General Education ENG100: Intro to College Writing PS110: American National Government MATH116: College Algebra Category B: Humanities Elective Category C: Social & Behavioral Science Elective
Science Core BIOL113: General Biology BIOL207: General Microbiology CHEM101: Intro to Chemistry ENV280: Intro to Environmental Sciences MATH117: Trigonometry GEOG100: Intro to Physical Environment PHYS101: Concepts of Motion
Concentration-Specific Drinking Water Operations Track WTTI 200: Water Supply & Wastewater Control WTTI 210: Intro to Water Treatment WTTI 212: Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection WTTI 220: Calculations & Hydraulics for Water WTTI 222: Water & Wastewater Instrumentation & Control WTTI 226: Water Chemistry WTTI 230: Advanced Water Treatment WTTI 291: Internship: Utility Operations
Concentration-Specific Wastewater Operations Track WTTI 200: Water Supply & Wastewater Control WTTI 211: Intro to Wastewater Treatment WTTI 212: Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection WTTI 221: Calculations & Hydraulics for Wastewater WTTI 222: Water & Wastewater Instrumentation & Control WTTI 226: Water Chemistry WTTI 231: Advanced Wastewater Treatment WTTI 291: Internship: Utility Operations
How? Hybrid Experiential & Distance Learning Educational Model (HEDLEM) Hands-on requirement Internships with local utilities Geographically dispersed need On-line classes and forums
Distance Learning Can include mail, video, Internet Internet pros Availability rapidly increasing Access to multiple electronic learning resources No travel required Convenient Internet cons Infrastructure required Must pay for access Must have a computer Lack of hands-on experiences
Hybrid Experiential and Distance Learning Educational Model Educational component > online Hands-on component > local utility On-the-job training Issues Internet access Sufficient workforce recruitment pool Distance to experiential location
Industry Linkages Programmatic Direction – driven by practitioners Steering Committee Employment Sector – DW/WW utilities Trade Associations – local TAs linked to national organizations State Primacy Agencies Educators – WKU, Community Colleges, Training Providers
Utility Network (UNet) Local point of presence for students Provide access to local facilities Internships
Utility Network The Subversive End: Change the EMPLOYERs Mindset!
Mentor Network On-line network of experienced water professionals Participate in discussion forums Provide expertise to educators Give career guidance to students
Student Incentives Internships One college credit hour for every 80 hrs of supervised work-based experience Employer must complete student evaluation form Scholarships Trade Associations Utilities – tuition reimbursement
Student Incentives (contd.) On-line courses Moving toward independent learning Flexible for existing operators Discussion Forums Modularization – short courses by TA providers 8 hr short course ~ 0.5 academic credit hour Must have assessment tool (quiz)
CEU Articulation KY/TN AWWA Water Treatment Distribution KRWA Utility Management 101 Utility Organization, Regulation & Law KWWOA Wastewater Treatment Water Treatment & Distribution TAUD Disinfection and Disinfection Alternatives Gravity Media Filter Optimization Instructor Credentials Content Equivalency Student Assessment
Associate: Water Resource Management Bachelor: Technology Mgmt or Public Admin. Master: Technology Mgmt or Public Admin. CEO? CEUs Certified Operator Pathways for Millennials Certificate in Water Ops
National Replication Model can be extrapolated to other disciplines Laboratory Technician Stormwater Management Energy Management Resource Conservation Model can be franchised to other educational institutions/ training providers Content only Content and instruction
Conclusion More well-trained operators needed throughout the country Many educational opportunities for operators, even in rural areas Existing professionals can act as instructors and/or mentors Meet the needs of rural water systems and job- seekers in those areas
Its a Win-Win! Students Learn theory and application On-the-Job training Competitive edge Scholarships from trade associations Tuition reimbursement by utilities Existing operators receive CEUs Utilities/Internship Providers Get to test-drive students Get an extra set of hands