Identifying and Understanding Workforce Education, Training and Outreach Needs in Decentralized Wastewater




Holodak, Jamie

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Horizon scanning exercises allow scientific researchers in different fields to identify emerging issues and challenges at the global, national, or local scales. Identifying these issues and prioritizing needs in research and practice for a given industry is important for decision makers and funders to be able to intentionally and effectively allocate resources and respond to challenges. The onsite wastewater industry is crucial to protecting public health in small, rural, or suburban communities across the nation and around the world. Recent literature has emphasized a concern for the future of the industry’s workforce in the United States, characterized by a decline in numbers of professionals due to increasing retirements and insufficient education and training opportunities, among other challenges. However, the workforce is not comprehensively well understood, and a widespread assessment of needs for the industry has not been completed until now. In 2021, Baylor University partnered with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) to conduct a nationwide survey (NOW-R2) of professionals working in the decentralized wastewater industry. This thesis examines the results of the NOW-R2 survey and presents ten priority problem statements for the industry related to workforce education, training and outreach.



Needs in onsite wastewater., Decentralized wastewater., Horizon scanning., Workforce education and training., Outreach needs.