California Researchers Announce Statewide Water Workforce Survey Results

Survey supported by MWDOC, shows continuing struggles to recruit water professionals
By MWDOC, Wastewater News

The Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE) unveiled a new water and wastewater workforce report at today’s Water Energy Education Alliance (WEEA or Alliance) Leadership Roundtable meeting.

The Alliance has formed a statewide advisory that will focus on developing collective deliverables that address the recommendations in the report titled “California Workforce Needs in the Water/Wastewater Industry.”

This report, in partnership with the COE and WEEA, marks the first time the COE conducted such an analysis at the statewide level. The exclusive preview allowed WEEA participants a unique opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the COE’s methodology and gain insight into their final report recommendations for eight (8) mission-critical occupations in the electrical, maintenance, and operational fields.

In addition to an in-depth labor market analysis, the report includes an industry survey with more than 500 responses and interviews with 20 community colleges across the state who offer water/wastewater programs. Three (3) different data collection methods were utilized – one secondary and two primary – to validate the findings for industry.

WEEA, led and administered by the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), is a statewide coalition of education and industry leaders working together to build and strengthen quality career pathways to water and energy jobs for all California students. With more than 175 organizations actively participating, the Alliance is made up of equal parts education and industry professionals, all of whom have been eagerly awaiting the report’s publication for over a year.

“WEEA provides an opportunity for water industry and education professionals to work together to address our workforce challenges,” said MWDOC President Megan Yoo Schneider. “This collaborative effort can have a meaningful impact.”

The report recommendations emphasize strengthening partnerships between the Community Colleges and water and wastewater providers to illuminate job opportunities, develop cooperative work experiences, and address equity gaps.

Initiated by WEEA and co-led and authored by the COE, the report was informed by an industry advisory of members from MWDOC, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Baywork, IEWorks, the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College, and San Diego County Water Authority. WEEA is sponsored by The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Eastern Municipal Water District, the Water Replenishment District, and Western Municipal Water District.


MWDOC is a wholesale water provider and resource planning agency whose efforts focus on sound planning and appropriate investments in water supply, water use efficiency, public information and outreach, legislative advocacy, water education for all ages, and emergency preparedness.

MWDOC’s 27 retail water agencies, comprised of city water departments and water districts, provide retail water services to the public.

About WEEA

The Water Energy Education Alliance (WEEA) serves as the connector between formal and informal educational institutions and the water and energy sector to create visible, equitable, and sustainable career pathways to top-quality, living-wage jobs that ultimately contribute to the welfare of industry, industry workers and their families, and to the health of the state’s economy.