Texas Water Foundation (TWF) released a report prepared by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) detailing the results of a Texas water workforce survey. The data shows that attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is a significant concern among other Texas water infrastructure challenges. More than 60 percent of respondents reported that they are currently experiencing workforce-related challenges, and 76 percent indicated hiring and retaining qualified employees as a medium to high risk to their organizations in the future.
WFX has fielded concerns on the water workforce in workshops across the country. In our Tennessee Workshop Report, participants detailed the challenges with retaining a water workforce in small, rural utilities when employees leave for larger markets and better pay. In other instances, a single operator may be retiring with transition plan. In all cases, the loss of institutional knowledge and costs of turnover weigh heavy on systems that are already stressed.
TWF CEO Sarah Schlessinger said, “From the state agencies that regulate, monitor, and fund water, to the small and large utilities that deliver water and treat your sewage, finding and retaining people with the qualifications to keep the systems running is crucial for the future of water security in Texas.” That same challenge to water security is felt throughout the country.
Read an executive summary of the report here.