Water Training Institute (WTI)
The Water Training Institute was established to address the nationwide workforce shortfall of qualified treatment plant operators due to factors including the en masse retirement of baby boomers and the tightening of regulatory requirements regarding the hands-on experience required prior to licensure. A Hybrid Experiential and Distance Learning Educational Model (HEDLEM) is used to target rural areas hardest hit due to the lack of educational and experiential opportunities available to them within a reasonable proximity. A blue-collar equivalent to the Service Core Of Retired Executives (SCORE), Encourage Every Young Operator with Retired Experience (EEYORE) provides mentoring for new recruits, while a Utility Network (UNet) was established to provide experiential locations. Strategically located Community and Technical College partners provide the regional instructional delivery, allowing for both succession planning and career advancement through the combined provision of a both academic credits and state-specific, and state-approved, certification and licensing hours.