This story was originally published in Public Works.

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was signed into law Oct. 23, which includes a provision that establishes a $1 million per year federal competitive grant program to fund training and career development for workers in the water and wastewater industries.

The legislation was sponsored by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and championed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and its partner utilities in the Water Agency Leaders Alliance (WALA), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), among other national organizations.

Utility agencies from both rural and urban communities will be eligible to apply for the grant funding. Many of the careers in the water and wastewater industries have low-educational barriers to entry, and the openings are often permanent, civil service positions. When paired with strong community partnerships and intentional strategies to address barriers to employment for hard-to-serve communities, these training programs can help reduce income inequality and address the shrinking middle class.

“Cities across the country are facing a severe shortage of skilled workers to operate our nation’s water systems,” says Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. “At the same time, there is a looming workforce challenge to build new water infrastructure systems that meet the needs of the 21st century.”

Read the full story HERE >>> Source: Architect