Water = life. This equation holds true not only within the human body (which is up to 60 percent water), but in our communities as well. We rely on skilled, experienced professionals to collect and distribute drinking water, to treat wastewater safely and efficiently, to test water quality in laboratories, and to help communities conserve water. Without their expertise, many aspects of daily life — from agriculture to industry to public health and the environment — would falter.
Current projections anticipate a wave of retirements among those currently working in water and wastewater treatment plants. By 2020, up to half of these experienced personnel could retire, leaving existing plants with significant gaps among their skilled operators. In the Bay Area alone, at least 1,000 new and replacement water and wastewater workers will be needed in the next 5 years.
To close that gap as quickly and comprehensively as possible, the Bay Area Consortium for Water and Wastewater Education (BACWWE) brings together industry and education partners to identify, train, and place qualified students — the next generation of water and wastewater professionals — in the industry. This means recruiting students who are new to these careers, as well as advancing the careers and skills of those already working in the industry.