waterTALENT: Filling the Gap
Many of us take for granted the fact that whenever we turn on a faucet, water will come out. It’s easy to forget that it’s someone’s job to keep the water flowing.
These people are called water operators.
Unfortunately, there are not enough new operators being trained for the number of positions that need to be filled.
The good news? Many retired water and wastewater operators still like to share their knowledge and can’t keep still for very long.
That’s why waterTALENT was created: to fill the operator-talent gap in the event of emergency situations or staff transitions at water plants and wastewater facilities across the country.
Take a look at the website copy, ads, and articles I wrote to help develop their brand, blog site and social awareness campaign.
What To Do When Your Water Plant Staff is in Transition
Are you responsible for hiring the new manager or operator for a water or wastewater plant?
Obviously, you want to find the most qualified and experienced candidate. What may not be so obvious is how to determine who has the right mix of expertise for the position, or what to do when you can’t find the right person soon enough.
There are generally four or five levels of qualification rankings in a given area of expertise,
Levels of Operator Certification
Depending on the state and type of certification, there are generally four or five levels ranking qualifications in a given area of expertise, such as water treatment and distribution or wastewater treatment and collections. Different types of plants may require different levels of expertise to run, but the most important factor to consider when evaluating candidates is not necessarily the level of certification, but the quality and diversity of experience and their ability to learn on the job.
Why aim high when it comes to operator experience and capabilities? Billions of dollars are at stake when you consider the value of water and wastewater facilities and the resources that are overseen by operators—to say nothing of the potential risks and liabilities involved in the event of error or accident. There’s also the time involved to get a new person up to speed. When you hire an experienced, certified operator, there’s much less of a learning curve and far less risk.
Veteran operators offer the advantage of being able to share insights gained from successful water and wastewater operations in other parts of the state and can recommend appropriate best practices to improve efficiencies and ensure compliance. It also helps to have a new set of eyes offer a fresh perspective on plant operations, in order to help spot potential issues that may have been overlooked previously.
What Makes a Great Water or Wastewater Plant Operator?
Effective water and wastewater plant professionals all share certain traits in common, such as technical expertise across a range of conventional and advanced treatment technologies, as well as an ability to learn quickly. Effective operators also have a natural curiosity, love of learning, and can work with everyone from service-level employees, all the way up to General Managers and elected officials. Above all, a top-notch water and wastewater professional must have a dedication to public health and safety, respect for the environment and an understanding of how to protect it.
It’s not always easy to find experienced candidates when looking to hire a water plant operator. Obviously, it’s important to work with someone who understands how to keep your plant running efficiently and in compliance. But in most cases, it can be difficult to hire a qualified, seasoned pro quickly.
Consider using interim staffing as a temporary solution that provides more time in the search for a full-time permanent operator. waterTALENT is a specialty interim staffing agency focused on keeping America’s water and wastewater treatment facilities operating effectively and in compliance. Currently, the only organization providing water and wastewater utilities with top-caliber, peer-approved operations talent, waterTALENT personnel arrive on site with the necessary insurance coverage and licenses, plus the skills, experience, and expertise to precisely fulfill plant requirements, deployed in as little as 24 hours.
For plant owners and consultants seeking additional information, or operators seeking new opportunities, please visit us at watertalent.net or call us at (424) 832-7217.
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Four Reasons to Use an Outside Partner for Your Water Operator Staff Contingency Plan
In a perfect world, we’d all get plenty of advance notice for those times when we need to staff up. But how often does that happen?
If you’re responsible for staffing or managing critical infrastructure, such as a water or wastewater treatment facility, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. One of the best ways to do so is by creating your own staffing contingency plan.
With a staffing plan or resource in place (just in case), your organization can respond more quickly to unexpected events and minimize any adverse effects of being short-handed.
While it may not be possible to anticipate every situation, you can expect a certain amount of absences for vacations and sick days, as well as disability leave and maternity. There will also be the occasional employee who leaves suddenly without notice.
Water and Wastewater Plants Never Close
Water and wastewater treatment plants typically run 24 hours a day, every day—which means constant monitoring is necessary. Operators may be required to work in shifts in order to provide sufficient oversight at all hours.
Given the importance of finding qualified help quickly in an emergency or staffing shortage, your supplemental staffing plan should include a talent agency or industry-focused recruiter.
Here are four of the top reasons for using a talent service when it comes to finding certified water and wastewater operators.
Quick, decisive action is crucial in an emergency situation. Water operators are often called in to work during emergencies, such as when excessive amounts of storm water or wastewater overwhelm sewers, or drainage systems backup. Emergencies can also occur when equipment fails or malfunctions, such as a chemical leak.
Staffing agencies can supply your facility with qualified staff quickly so you can better handle unexpected events, including seasonal demands or peak usage periods.
Experienced, Certified Operators
Water and wastewater treatment operators are critical to public health. State requirements for water and wastewater treatment operators may vary, but all candidates must pass certification examinations. Plant, distribution system, and collection system operators must be knowledgeable about the operation, maintenance and cleaning of equipment and facilities, safety, first aid, chemical handling, sampling, and process control tests.
When you hire a water or wastewater operator through a staffing agency, you can expect the candidate to arrive pre-screened with the proper certification and experience to perform the job.
In the short term, hiring a temporary or interim workers can actually be less expensive (not to mention less time-consuming) than a full-time person with benefits.
Hiring a temporary part-time operator to fill a difficult position also allows work to go on while the search for a permanent replacement continues. Just one more reason it pays to use a specialized staffing agency as part of your plan to handle unforeseen staffing emergencies.
Currently the only nationwide organization providing water and wastewater utilities support with top-caliber, peer-approved industry professionals, waterTALENT is the specialty interim staffing agency focused on keeping America’s water and wastewater treatment facilities operating effectively and in compliance. waterTALENT personnel arrive on site with the necessary insurance coverage and licenses with the skills, experience, and expertise to precisely fulfill plant requirements, deployed in as little as 24 hours.
For directors and hiring managers seeking additional information, or operators seeking new opportunities, please call us at (424) 832-7217.
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