A program to connect veterans with disabilities to career opportunities in the water and wastewater sectors such as wastewater plants and drinking water facilities is receiving support from two federal organizations. As part of EPA’s Water Sector Workforce Initiative, the effort combines two of the Obama administration’s top priorities: job placement for veterans and clean water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program have agreed to implement the training. The two agencies will work with water utilities, states and local VA counselors to promote water sector careers, as well as with resources for finding water jobs for veterans. They also will facilitate locating educational programs to help disabled veterans transition into water-related industry careers.

More than one-third of all current water operators are eligible to retire within seven years. At the same time, employment for water and wastewater operators is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor - faster than the national average for all other occupations. Veterans may be qualified for a range of jobs within the field, including engineering, laboratory and water science, operations and maintenance, management and administration, communications and public education.

“This agreement comes at the perfect time to address the predicted workforce shortages in the water and wastewater industries and the need for transitioning veterans into civilian jobs,” says Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water.

For more about connecting qualified veterans with employer needs, go to www.vetsuccess.gov.