Recruiting Displaced Workers into the Water & Wastewater Industry
It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has affected jobs across the country. Before the pandemic hit, the nationwide unemployment rate was at a 50-year low of 3.5%. By the first week of May, though, roughly 33.5 million people had filed unemployment claims—this is the equivalent of about 1 in 5 Americans.
More of Kentucky’s workforce is unemployed than any other state because of COVID-19.
Since early March, 674,000 people—approximately 33% of the labor force—has filed for unemployment insurance.
That is a lot of displaced workers! Granted, not all of these will be permanent losses. We are now seeing more businesses start to re-open, which means that people are returning to work. Regardless, there is currently a huge pool of people that have lost their jobs and that could be a captive audience to hear about the job opportunities in the water and wastewater sector. It is also worthwhile to mention that there are federal workforce funds through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that will subsidize a portion of wages if you hire a dislocated worker.
Thanks to your hard work and dedication, the water and wastewater industry never closed! Continuity of operations—especially during states of emergency—must be maintained in order to provide the essential service of producing and distributing clean water and treating wastewater. Although many things remain uncertain at this time, we know it is not an option for our industry to shut down. If you are looking to fill vacant positions, now is as good a time as any to showcase what you have to offer to a potential employee—stability as an essential employee, among many other things. We are happy to aid in your efforts to connect with displaced workers, whether it be through the KRWA apprenticeship program or other workforce development efforts.