The Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association (ISAWWA) has initiated a program to provide guidelines for professionals in the water industry to reach out to youths currently attending school to introduce them to the value of water as our most precious natural resource and also to introduce the water industry as a viable option for future employment. As a water professional, you know the value of water and the need to find qualified people to fill operations, maintenance, engineering, and product development and sales positions.
The Illinois Section has developed guidelines to assist local water utilities, engineering firms, and product developers/salespeople to connect with students at all levels – grade school through community college. Water industry professionals can be instrumental in energizing the workforce of the future.
The specific guidelines that have been developed for each academic level are currently available on our website – http://www.isawwa.org/. There are guidelines that will assist you in developing an educational outreach program that is appropriate for your area. You will find guidelines for elementary school, high school and community college, as well as detailed instructions on how your youth outreach program can be developed to meet specific criteria of the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Junior Girl Scouts and Girl Scouts in the areas of natural resources, conservation and environmental science. You will also find instructions on how your utility can get involved in assisting classrooms at the junior high and high school levels to develop a local science fair and to prepare to compete in the Illinois Junior Academy of Science's statewide competition.
It's a simple fact that everyone needs a reliable source of potable water for life. By giving students an opportunity to explore water treatment and conservation, as well as careers in the water industry (operations, maintenance, laboratory, administration, engineering, sales, etc.), we can help to ensure that there will be an abundant supply of water, with capable and trained professionals to design, build and operate water treatment facilities well into the future.
Please consider taking an active role in reaching out to area educators. A phone call to the schools in your area should provide you with the names of the appropriate science teachers who can be contacted. The ISAWWA is available to serve as a resource for any additional information that you or the local schools may need to implement this program. Please refer to our "References” for additional resources that are available to you to assist you in developing your youth outreach program.
Finally, ISAWWA is currently putting together a recognition and awards program to acknowledge the efforts of those utilities and firms which develop a successful youth outreach program. You will find the award application on the website. Completing the award application will not only qualify you for consideration for recognition awards and prizes, but could provide valuable suggestions that will help other utilities and companies initiate or improve on their own youth education outreach program.
If you have any questions or desire additional information, please do not hesitate to contact ISAWWA Executive Director Laurie Dougherty at 1-866-521-3595 or at firstname.lastname@example.org