Help Wanted? Dive Into The Water Industry’s Latest Talent Pool

A Q&A with Peter Brooks, vice president, waterTALENT

The labor crisis at water and wastewater utilities across the U.S. is well documented, but answers to the problem — a graying workforce retiring en masse, resulting in both physical vacancies and knowledge gaps to fill — are much harder to find. While long-term recruiting efforts have been developed by, among others, the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation, the ‘next generation’ of talent cannot address the very immediate concerns of short-handed utilities, and sometimes the need is merely temporarily. As new technologies are introduced at treatment plants, for instance, there may be demand for certain expertise to help with startup and training. Who fills this void, or who can come in and knock out shifts at the plant on short notice for a short term? The answer is licensed, experienced operators who can commit to your job, but only to the extent that you need them.