Streamline - Spring 2016 - (Page 15)

Future Operators: Implementing A Career BY LUCIAN LINEBERRY, CIRCUIT RIDER #1 THIS ARTICLE IS a follow up of Streamline's Fall 2014 issue. The past sub-title, "Encouraging the Profession" and this one, "Implementing a Career," relate to both the shortage of water and wastewater operators, and the lack of interest as a career. As stated previously, the retirement percentage is at approximately 20-25 percent within the last 10-year period. These positions are being filled at a much lower rate for various reasons. Local and utility budgets are a factor at most establishments, sometimes limiting salary pay, educational opportunities, and other benefits that may be provided by private industry. Testing for certification seems to be a big negative, concerning personal moral and self-confidence. Those considering trainee positions are intimidated by said testing, especially the math involved. Facility schedules may be a conflict with some, for whom family is, of course, a primary responsibility. Other reasons are present, involving both the facility and the individual, at said times and situations. Again, referring to the previous article, the most obvious reason for people not considering water/wastewater as a career is the lack of knowledge concerning the profession. As operators, directors, managers, etc., we know that the profession offers an excellent opportunity for those who aren't considering college, technical school or other educational facilities, which may not allow them to accrue credits toward their field of study, and also requires their personal cost. Our profession allows those interested, as a trainee, to accumulate credits and time toward certification testing, and also be employed. A career as a "profession," in the treatment field can be accomplished with only a high school diploma or a GED. Sounds pretty enticing??!! Once again, the main hurdle seems to be communicating this opportunity to the public. How can we "ADVERTISE" our profession? Referring to the previous article, each locale should be able to look at their individual situation and spell out a solution to suit their needs. From previous experience, a few programs that succeeded were: an internship involving classes and training at a facility (earning credit hours for certification test); tours and introductory sessions concerning operations, career opportunities, etc. with high school juniors and seniors. This program may be coordinated with schools' distributive education classes or student guidance faculty. Tours for all age groups seemed to spark interest in different areas, i.e. plant operations, The majority of individuals who initially choose water and/or wastewater as a job decide to make it a career. They take on the challenge and responsibility of the position and respect the involvement of a family atmosphere. computer technology, lab test; inviting potential trainees to classes (math?) to allow them to gather some knowledge concerning the occupation and maybe realize the math "isn't all that bad." Tearing down the "I can't do it" wall is the first step in landing future career operators who will be an asset to your facility. Leaflets enclosed with billings explaining treatment careers, and/ or posted on bulletin boards at public locations; a special edition section in the local newspaper with explanations and photos of your facility and operators, etc. Open house events can be potential communication links. When 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2016

From the President: Strong
From the Executive Director: Do You Need VRWA?
Thanks for the Memories!
Future Operators: Implementing A Career
Claypool Hill: Triumph Over Adversity
Work Zone Safety Awareness: V-DOT Work Zone Traffic Control Certification
Water System Consolidation
Decline of Coal: Economic Effects on Utilities
Effectively Managing Inventory Space and Costs
VRWA Report Card
NRWA Recap
Planning Reports Funded for Three Rural Water and Waste Projects in Central Virginia
VRWA Members Corner
Throwing My Loop: A Positive Life...
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Mail Bag
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2016