The Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program is a new opportunity introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the need for skilled and diverse workers in the water utilities sector. With over $20 million in grant funding available, eligible organizations have the chance to build a stronger pool of talent in the water and wastewater utilities industry.
The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the importance of job training and workforce development in advancing economic opportunities and addressing environmental justice issues in underserved communities. Frontline workers in water and wastewater treatment utilities play a crucial role in public health, environmental sustainability, and economic well-being. However, the industry is facing shortages of qualified workers due to retirements, infrastructure investments, and the demand for new technical and scientific skills.
The grant program aims to foster collaboration among federal, state, and local governments, higher education institutions, apprentice programs, labor organizations, high schools, and community-based organizations. Its goal is to provide access to workforce opportunities and build career pipelines in the water sector.
Innovative Water Infrastructure: Eligible organizations can submit their applications to EPA until November 17, 2023. The program encourages projects in various areas, including targeted internships and apprenticeships, education programs for students, industry collaborations for hiring qualified candidates, leadership development and occupational training, education and training for decentralized water workers, and workforce development programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities.
This grant program aligns with EPA’s priorities of advancing environmental justice, addressing climate change, and supporting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. By investing in workforce development, the program aims to ensure a strong pipeline of skilled workers and promote equity in the water utilities sector.
Deadlines: 11:59 PM ET November 17th, 2023
For more information about the grant program and the application process, please refer to the official EPA announcement.