Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016 - (Page 38)

UTILITY MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION Vermont Rural Water Association Continues Training; i Plans More for 2016 BY SHAUN FIELDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VERMONT RURAL WATER ASSOCIATION In late 2013 a number of rural water affiliates from across the country were offering classroom-based training for the recently developed Utility Management Certification (UMC) program. The program was designed to recognize the educational, experience and training achievements of individuals and to market their achievements and skills, therefore increasing their value as a water professional. Thanks to development work by Florida Rural Water, Kentucky Rural Water, Texas Rural Water and National Rural Water Association (NRWA), the foundation of the training program was fully in place when Vermont Rural Water Association committed to offer the certification. The groups noted above had produced the UMC Study Guide and instructors reference information with PowerPoint. In addition many of the logistics issues, such as registration processes, confirming eligibility, online testing and issuance of UMC award placards, were developed. The program was receiving very positive feedback within the rural water community and our association committed to be involved. Given a somewhat tight economy in Vermont in 2013, VRWA sought out dedicated funding support for the program. A number of options were investigated and an application was submitted to the Vermont Department of Labor (VTDOL) for a workforce education and training fund (WETF) grant. The key objectives of the WETF program are to create new jobs, retain existing jobs or prevent layoffs, and increase overall business capabilities. 38 FIRST QUARTER 2016 Since the UMC program is designed to enhance the financial, managerial and operational effectiveness of drinking water and wastewater personnel across the country, it matched up nicely with the WETF objectives. Add to this the fact that strengthening and supporting individuals in management roles and also keeping folks informed on best management practices is very important for a given community's economic health. As we all know, many citizens and businesses rely on public water and wastewater service 365/24/7. The UMC program was a great match for funding support from the VTDOL WETF program and news of the UMC grant award to VRWA was received in the second quarter 2014. The WETF grant supported registration fees, distribution of the UMC Study Guide, and associated expenses for VRWA to conduct a number of 10-hour classroom UMC trainings. The length of UMC training classes offered by other rural water affiliates is varied and VRWA determined covering all the material included in the UMC Study Guide was best achieved over two full days of training for a total of 10 hours of instruction time. Another benefit for personnel taking this course with VRWA was issuance of 10 training contact hours for their continuing education requirements. In regards to the testing phase, VRWA decided not to conduct the two-hour certification test at the end of a given course, but to put that testing responsibility back on the given attendee at a time shortly following the course completion and when it's convenient for them. One of the reasons for this approach was to give attendees time to further review the study guide information and their classroom notes. Some rural water affiliates are having attendees test out in the last two hours of a given training and this is proving successful. VRWA offered two UMC courses late in 2014 and two courses in early 2015 and were instructed by Shaun Fielder (VRWA). Registrations for the course were offered on a first-come, first-served basis and individuals accessed the VRWA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016

Strategic Planning for Water Utilities
Planning for Drought
A Rally to Remember
The 17th Annual Great American Water Taste Test
USDA Rural Development Has Loans
Rural Water Association of Utah Launches Successful Training Program
Vermont Rural Water Association Continues Training; Plans More for 2016
From the President
Finance: Investing Without Borders
Emergency Management: Decontamination Strategy for the Water Sector
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider: Dell R. Harris, Kentucky Rural Water Association
Case Study: Bubble Diffusers
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From The CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2016