California Municipal Utilities Association Awarded $4 Million Grant for Workforce Development

The California Municipal Utilities Association has been awarded $4 million from the California Workforce Development Board’s High Road Training Partnership Grant Program to implement the new California Water, Wastewater, and Energy Workforce Development Program.

The grant will develop a statewide workforce development program focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion resulting in trained workers who will secure jobs in the public power utility, water and wastewater industry throughout California, CMUA said.

There are three major components of the program, all of which will positively impact CMUA members:
Literature Review and Supplemental Needs Assessment: CMUA will facilitate a literature review of existing and planned workforce surveys to determine if additional work is needed to serve members' needs and establish a solid foundation for implementing the Program.

Develop, Pilot, and Implement Regional Consortium: Based on the needs assessment and a separate evaluation of other factors that would support success, one area in California will be selected for a regional consortium that connects CMUA members to workers, community colleges and universities and other interested parties. CMUA also will work with the workforce development board in the selected region to run a pilot program supporting new entrants into the industry, particularly from underserved communities.

Statewide Activities: The program also will include statewide activities benefitting members, including materials members can use for outreach and awareness of the industry; best workforce development practices for industry utilities; and grants for training at partner organizations and other stakeholders with existing training programs.

CMUA said it will discuss with the workforce development board how CMUA members can access grant funds directly. “Still, there is significant funding for existing training organizations to expand their efforts and ensure additional trained workers are available for hire by member utilities,” CMUA said.

CMUA's next step is to hire grant administration/project management staff and it will collaborate with a large coalition of trade associations, nonprofits, and vocational organizations to implement the elements of the grant.