to need a workforce to support it.” WW
About the Author: Sarah Fister Gale is a Chicago-based correspondent for
Water World. Over the last 15 years, she has researched and written dozens of articles on water management trends, wastewater treatment systems and the impact
of water scarcity on businesses and municipalities around the world.
inspection, and maintenance workers.
The program features 35 hours of class
and field work and includes a final certification exam. Students only need a high
school diploma or GED to participate.
“The certification supports the development of green infrastructure systems
and establishes a career path for skilled
green infrastructure workers,” Ries said.
To create value for the certification,
many of the participating utilities will
include preference for contractors using
certified professionals in their bid specs.
“Our partners will create the market
demand,” Ries explained. And as the
certification becomes more in demand,
these professionals will be able to apply
their skills in cities across the nation.
Bethany Bezak, head of the NGICP
program for DC Water, likens it to LEED
certification for green buildings, which
came about in the late 1990s and was
rapidly adopted, helping to promote
green building practices around the
world. “We’ve only just started, and we
are already picking up steam,” she said.
The first program was held in Washington, D.C., with 62 graduates in December 2016, and another 46 in June
2017. Since then, communities have
been reaching out to Bezak to find out
more about launching their own program, and the partnership is preparing
to launch the training on a national level next year. “There is real demand for
this kind of talent,” she said.
Ries agrees. “In the next 20 years,
wet weather management will require
$100 billion in infrastructure investment,
and a lot of that money will go to green
infrastructure,” he said. “We are going
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Access to a workforce that is trained to build
and maintain green infrastructure will be key
to its success. Photo courtesy of DC Water.