In a couple of presentations I’ve given in the past few months, I’ve talked about one of the key drivers in the water and wastewater utility industry being a pending shortfall in the labor pool. One of the leading indicators of a shortage is not the lack of employable people, but rather the lack of skilled labor to fill specific position requirements. In the water and wastewater utility industry, skilled labor is a necessary input to the operations. EPA regulations require certified operators and the certification requirements are high (see this course schedule from the Georgia Water and Wastewater Institute, for example). Yet, while skilled labor is running short, there is a growing demand for those skills. Recently, Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” testified before Congress that the gap is starting to show up in the manufacturing sector. Water and wastewater utility managers will tell you that finding and retaining skilled operators, let alone certified ones, is increasingly difficult.
Check out Mike Rowe’s testimony in the video below and follow our link (here) to our presentation for the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association covering labor statistics and the potential costs for water and sewer utility agencies.