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Committees: Workforce

According to a recent study by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, there is a workforce crisis brewing in the utility industry caused by impending retirements and shifting demographics, increasing diversity, and a declining number of science and technical students. 

The water sector is facing the baby boomer exodus sooner than the general population. The study notes that utilities will feel the impact of these retirements most severely in areas requiring technical skills and knowledge such as engineering and operations. And, the industry is competing with many other career choices — some that are more glamorous and lucrative, and in general, more appreciated by the public.

TAWWA established the Workforce Strategies Committee to try to find solutions to these issues in Texas. The Committee draws its members from the Texas Section AWWA and WEAT.  Anyone with an interest in workforce issues may volunteer — the Committee is currently seeking members from south Texas, the Valley, the Permian Basin, far West Texas, and the Panhandle. The Committee typically holds a telephone conference once a month and meets each year at Texas Water.

High School Programs

Of particular interest to the Committee is the creation of high school water education programs. Irving, Arlington, and Waco water utilities have all worked with their local school districts to create education programs. Though all programs are not identical, the end result is that high school seniors can test for their entry level operator license. Once the license is obtained, the students may serve in internship positions or be hired by the utility. San Antonio is currently working on establishing a high school program and Committee members will approach the Cities of Bryan and College Station this year about establishing programs there.


Another very important Committee initiative is recruiting and hiring veterans into our industry. Some of our activities have included working with TCEQ on accepting military experience to meet licensing requirements, being involved in scheduling webinars to educate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on the water industry, and scheduling Veterans Service Representatives to speak at Texas Water and ACE regarding veterans’ OJT programs that utilities may use to hire. In the coming months, our Committee will be working with the Texas Veterans’ Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission to plan a career/job fair specifically for the water industry. Our aim is to connect veterans with utilities that need their skill sets. 

Committee members also respond to requests from schools for participation in career day activities or to make other special presentations.

Learn more about Our Water Legacy and the importance and value of the working in water community in this video.

For more information, contact Magda Alanis at 832-395-2715 or


Committee Chair
Magda Alanis
Section Executive Director
Mike Howe