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On-the-job training programs can help the water industry build and maintain a skilled and diverse workforce.The benefits are numerous for participants in apprenticeship and internship programs, with a well-organized plan that offers training in specific skills, job assurance and potential for advancement, personal development, and financial stability.Where small or medium-sized water utilities don’t see the feasibility of developing their own formalized on-the-job training, a regional program is a possible solution.
Succession planning for trades in the water industry is more important than ever as a result of staff attrition, the limited pool of qualified candidates, COVID-19 challenges, and a short-age of relevant training programs. Apprenticeship and internship programs are a viable path to creating a work-force specifically trained on a utility’s system, providing work experience for personnel to obtain credentials and build their skills, and increasing staff retention. According to apprenticeship.gov, 94% of apprentices continue employment after completing their program. Community-based organizations have developed effective pre-apprenticeship programs that teach trainees work-ready skills and help them register for apprentice-ship programs in skilled trades. Apprenticeships with local labor unions and educational institutions are pipe-lines to permanent employment in the water sector.