Streamline - Fall 2014 - (Page 15)

BY LUCIAN LINEBERRY, CIRCUIT RIDER I Get out there and let it be known what a great opportunity and career can be achieved by becoming a member of the family in the water and/ or wastewater treatment fields. Future Operators Encouraging the Profession "Baby Boom" seems to affect every business and profession in its own unique way. Unfortunately, water and wastewater treatment has also been caught in the clinches of this empty gap, usually caused by generation turnover. The reFerreD To This gap in treatment positions started approximately 10 years ago with eligible operators retiring upon reaching "that age." Most of this generation of operators had been in the treatment profession for 20 to 30 years. They "grew up" with the business as it made changes, from turning every valve, starting pumps manually, listening for strange noises and routine visual walk-arounds, to the modern day technology of pushing the "start" button, watching all the pump-on, valve-open lights go green to assure that everything is operating correctly and the plant is sending out treated water to the public within the distribution regulations. Waste treatment involved the same technology changes, assuring that no harm came to natural resources and that environmentally nothing was disturbed. The combination of "that age" and the rapid technology changes has, no doubt, influenced the retirement of operators in the past 10 years. This retirement period has created a huge shortage of qualified operators in both fields of treatment. The estimate of retirees is at best 20 to 25 percent. Plants in all regions are in need of operators and filling these positions seems to be a sudden nightmare. Unfortunately, the opportunities and possible future careers as plant operators, lab technicians and other related licensed positions are not made aware to the public in a manner of "professional." How can interest in treatment positions and future careers be implemented? This would probably depend on plant needs of different locations. Regardless, all regions have experienced layoffs from various businesses and industries leaving local residents unemployed. Likely, a percentage of these people will be looking for a new career. Education for some may be limited, so a good aspect of encouragement is that only a high school diploma or GED is required for treatment positions. Taking this initial requirement and getting operational experience, a new career can be acquired. Another alternative, and possibly the best for future, long-term operators, is to make contacts at local schools. The level and difference of interest will vary with age and individual preference of future plans. From previous experience of plant tours, it was noted that younger tourists, i.e. kindergarten to intermediate age, were fascinated by usual operations such as a jar test, asking to "do that again." Will these students someday be plant operators by being provided a tour as a second grader? The intermediate and high school students were more interested in the computer technology 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2014

From the President: Conversations
From the Executive Director: Changes and Updates
The Importance of Continuing Professional Education
Future Operators
Small Town Mayor, Big Time Dedication
Benefits of Water Reclamation and Reuse
USDA Rural Development
2014 EXPO Highlights
Throwing My Loop: Can You Motivate Others?
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits 35 Membership Application
VRWA Mailbag
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcome New Members
VRWA Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Fall 2014