It is essential that the African American community across the U.S. become more aware of the vast opportunities in the water sector, including the aims and mission of the water utility of the future that promotes more community engagement, empowerment and economic development.
Imagine a Day Without Water 2019
Youth with an environmental justice passion can find rewarding careers, such as a construction field inspector or regulatory analyst to make sure that water facilities and operations, often located in communities of color, meet codes and regulations. Change and opportunities however, require concerted efforts and strong partnerships that create inclusive, innovative and diverse workforce development strategies at the local, regional, and national levels. Without the required national investments to fund workforce training and education programs from political leaders, utilities and local and state actors, the gap in skilled workers will remain unresolved. African Americans will also remain excluded from pipeline careers that can help protect the public’s health while expanding deeply needed economic opportunity.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, DC Water and Environment and Education co-designed and implemented Water Week. A cohort of 20 rising juniors and seniors in the Cardozo TransSTEM Academy at the Cardozo Education Campus gained an understanding of their community’s water supply system and infrastructure-related careers/career pathways. Water Week is part of a pilot Summer Infrastructure Careers program initiated by Introducing Young Americans to Infrastructure (IYAI+).
Water Week field experiences included visits to the DC Water headquarters and the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of its kind in the world; the Covanta Alexandria/Arlington Waste to Energy Facility and a green infrastructure site. Activities included speed mentoring and drinking water and infrastructure mapping. The field trips helped familiarize students with local and regional infrastructure while incorporating ideas from the My Beloved Community speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Beloved Streets of America Project.
Water Careers and Opportunities for African Americans