The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has nationally launched a jobs programme that provides training and certification in the field of green infrastructure, a fast-growing approach used to reduce stormwater pollution and revitalise communities.
The National Green Infrastructure Certification Programme (NGICP) is available nationwide after development of the programme by WEF and co-founder DC Water, along with 14 other water utilities, which led to the initial certification of more than 250 individuals, many of whom have secured permanent employment in the field.
NGICP establishes national requirements for working on green infrastructure projects, promotes a skilled green workforce, streamlines the process of connecting qualified talent to in-demand jobs, and supports community-based job creation in cities in the United States (U.S.). The nationwide launch of NGICP offers opportunities to become a certified individual, programme partner, trainer, supporter of certifications, as well as sponsor. NGICP also seeks to work with philanthropic groups to reach under-represented members of the workforce and rural communities.
The first national training course was held in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., in March and more tests were recently held after trainings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Peoria, Illinois. Additional trainings are scheduled for Atlanta, Georgia, from the 30th of April to the 4th of May, as well as in Southern California from the 11th to the 15th of June.
“The overwhelming interest in the National Green Infrastructure Certification Programme has confirmed the need to train people to work in this growing segment of the water sector,” WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill, said. “Through the programme, we have a tremendous opportunity to promote the implementation of green infrastructure projects and develop a skilled workforce for the betterment of our communities, economy, and environment.”
Moreover, WEF has named Adriana Caldarelli as director of NGICP. She comes to WEF after 17 years with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection working in various water quality-related programmes, including wastewater management planning and combined sewer outfall permitting. Much of her work has been focused on green infrastructure and she worked in the state’s stormwater management programme developing design and performance standards.
In recent years, the water sector has used green infrastructure as a critical component to comprehensive stormwater management, either through regulatory drivers such as long-term control plans, municipal separate storm sewer system permits and consent decrees, or as part of a planned broader voluntary strategy. While green infrastructure offers many environmental, societal, and economic advantages, these benefits can be attained only through the proper installation and ongoing maintenance of systems by skilled workers.
“The national launch of the National Green Infrastructure Certification Programme is a realisation of the work and dedication of WEF, DC Water, and our partners to develop a sustainable programme that provides the rigor of a national credential but with local implementation flexibility,” DC Water’s Interim CEO and General Manager Henderson J. Brown, IV, said. “We couldn’t be prouder of the impact we are making locally by bringing jobs to our community.”
The opportunities to become directly involved in NGICP include:
- Partner: Water utilities, cities, counties, and related jurisdictions can become partners and take advantage of numerous benefits including exclusive cost savings on the certification programme
- Certification: Entities interested in supporting a large group of people to become certified can capitalise on savings by investing in tiered packages
- Trainer: Train-the-Trainer Workshops provide critical training skills and introduces practitioners to the best practice training techniques. This allows entities to provide the prerequisite exam training
- Sponsorship: Allies like architectural and engineering firms, construction management and construction firms, government organisations, foundations and non-profit organisations, and workforce development advocacy groups can sponsor the programme to support WEF’s certification efforts.