Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 23

Missouri shows the way
For years, the Missouri Rural Water
Association has provided discounted or free
certification training for military personnel.

©ISTOCK.COM/FLYSNOW

''

A KEY THING THAT A VETERAN

WILL STEP OUT WITH THAT OTHERS MAY
NOT NECESSARILY HAVE IS AN ABILITY

''

utility not only gets a vacancy filled, but also
may receive other assistance to help train
and license the new employee.
The veterans program was established
in 2013, but in its last year, it has grown
significantly thanks to the grant. "The grant
said we had to service 10 veterans in the
first year to continue funding," said Adams,
who started in January. "We've already
placed 17."
So Adams, who sees herself as a
"personnel placement specialist," has
asked for more grant money for the coming
year. And if she is awarded the additional
funds, she plans to hire an additional person
to help. Even then, she's got an idea: "I
want to hire a military veteran."
While much of the focus is on finding,
hiring and training system operations
specialists, she notes that other jobs in the
industry can serve disabled veterans. "You
have billing specialists and receptionists. I
can place a veteran into one of those jobs
that may be in a wheelchair."
Granted, Texas has far more veterans
than most other states. With 1.5 million
veterans in its population, the Lone Star
state is on par with Florida and California as
having the biggest populations of veterans.
It is also home to 18 military installations,
creating a significant pool of potential
candidates. Adams hopes that eventually
she can help veterans transition into other
states, if that's where they want to relocate.
While much of that desire comes from
wanting to help those who served, she
sees significant skills learned in the military
that-even if they don't directly translate-
are much needed in today's workforce.
"They bring honor and loyalty to a job,"
she said. "Most are very dedicated to what
they do."
She should know-she is a "military
brat" herself. Her father served for 30 years
and her father-in-law for 35. "Anyone with
that background comes out organized," she
said. "They're trained for detail. They're
trained to be proud of their jobs."
Some may have some experience that
translates directly. If not, robust programs
to help military transition to their postservice careers can help with training.

TO WORK FOR THE MISSION AND THE

UNIT. IN THE MILITARY, YOU'RE NOT SO

MUCH OF AN INDIVIDUAL. YOU'RE A TOOL
THAT'S BEING USED TO ACCOMPLISH THE
MISSION. IN WATER/WASTEWATER, THE
JOB IS ALWAYS MISSION-ORIENTED.
- Randy Norden,
Executive Director, MRWA

Randy Norden, MRWA's executive
director, plans to kick that up a notch. The
association is in the process of formalizing
an apprenticeship program, providing a
"valuable connection" to the U.S. Dept. of
Veterans Affairs. "Quite honestly, the VA
didn't want to pay attention to us without
that formal program," he said. "They didn't
take us very seriously."
Missouri, like Texas, has numerous
large military installations, providing ripe
opportunities for connection. Norden
knows the process these veterans go
through-he served a four-year stint in the
Army before enlisting in the National Guard
and later the U.S. Navy Reserve.
"When I cleared out of Fort Riley in
Kansas, they had people with the state's
Department of Corrections come in and
say, 'Come be a prison guard.' They'll
essentially give you the job on the spot."
He hopes that eventually water and
wastewater will be equally as aggressive
about recruiting veterans. Like Adams, he
sees strong selling points that make the
industry a good fit.
"A key thing that a veteran will step
out with that others may not necessarily
have is an ability to work for the mission
and the unit. In the military, you're not so
much of an individual. You're a tool that's
being used to accomplish the mission.
In water/wastewater, the job is always
mission-oriented," Norden said. "You're

providing safe water to people. There are
times that it's not convenient. You work
holidays and weekends. The veteran steps
out with training and experience oriented
toward that."
Beyond that, though, he sees an
"attitude of service" in both those
leaving the military and water and
wastewater personnel.

Getting started
There are hurdles that the industry must
face to be competitive, Adams believes.
"We have these veterans coming out of the
service making somewhat decent money.
We say, 'Come work in the industry. The
job you'll get is $9 an hour,'" Adams said.
"That can be a hard sell."
Still, pursuing military veterans makes
sense-especially given the need for many
system operations specialists. State and
federal programs can help. But Adams
suggests starting with local governments
to find important connections at the
state level.
Just recently, she met with her state
senator, a military veteran herself. "Find
an advocate like that," Adams said.
"She will be the voice that helps us with
these issues."
With a strong advocate and a connection
to state resources, water and wastewater
system operations specialists may just get
the attention of military personnel. ‚óŹ
RURAL WATER

23


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017

From the President
Moving Forward with Workforce Development
Managing and Working in a Multi-Generational Workforce
Veterans in the Water Industry
New Online Database Provides Misleading Information for Tap Water Customers
WaterPro Rocks Reno
Finance: How to Start Saving for Retirement
Technology: Rural Water District Finds Effective GIS Support
Regulatory Update
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider: Rita Clary, Kansas Rural Water Association
Up the Creek: Of Birds and Men
Index to Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
From the CEO
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - intro
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - cover1
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - cover2
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 3
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 4
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 5
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 6
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 7
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 8
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 9
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 10
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - From the President
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Moving Forward with Workforce Development
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 13
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 14
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 15
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Managing and Working in a Multi-Generational Workforce
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 17
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 18
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 19
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 20
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 21
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Veterans in the Water Industry
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 23
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 24
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - New Online Database Provides Misleading Information for Tap Water Customers
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 26
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 27
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - WaterPro Rocks Reno
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 29
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 30
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 31
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 32
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 33
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 34
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Finance: How to Start Saving for Retirement
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 36
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Technology: Rural Water District Finds Effective GIS Support
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 38
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 39
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 40
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Regulatory Update
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 42
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 43
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 44
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider: Rita Clary, Kansas Rural Water Association
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Up the Creek: Of Birds and Men
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 47
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - Index to Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - 49
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - From the CEO
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - cover3
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2017 - cover4
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