Waterwork – Fall 2018
The Chair’s Corner

We are pleased to bring you the first issue of BAYWORK’s new newsletter.  In our effort to keep our Signatories engaged, we want to be able to provide an issue each quarter.   We are excited about new developments at BAYWORK and want to share with you some of the exciting plans and opportunities.  In this issue you’ll hear about our new Sustainable Business Model for BAYWORK, meet our new BAYWORK manager and hear about recent training events, as well as upcoming events. We are committed to providing value for each participating water agency by providing workforce services to ensure the operational reliability of water and wastewater facilities.  Please let us know what you think about the newsletter.  If you have ideas for articles that you would like to see or would like to share anything you are doing that relates to BAYWORK – we want to hear about it!  Happy reading!

Ingrid Bella – BAYWORK Chair

National Study Recognizes BAYWORK
The Brookings Institute, a major national think-tank, just published a report entitled Renewing the Water Workforce, in which BAYWORK is cited a number of times.  See the Brookings report.
2018 Baywork Signatory Meeting Unveils New Business Plan

On June 20th, at its annual Signatory Meeting, Baywork unveiled a new Sustainable Business Model for the organization.  Twenty-eight representatives from 12 agencies examined the findings and recommendations from a year-long task force charged with increasing the capacity and effectiveness of BAYWORK. The Executive Committee will begin to build out this model starting with a meeting on August 8th. With the active engagement of all the participating agencies, we will ensure that the industry has the workforce needed to maintain operational reliability.

Here are a few of the recommendations:

  1. Prioritize a strategic focus on engaging signatory agencies, while continuing to provide a level of service consistent with previous years.
  2. Expand the current membership structure to include options for non-agency members, but retain agencies as the only voting members.
  3. Develop an Executive Board that is part of the larger Executive Committee, with Board members elected by signatory agencies
Steven Currie (EBMUD) and Lisa Beem (SFPUC) address the Signatory Meeting

Each of the BAYWORK committees reported on their successes in the last year. Among the highlights were hosting two career fairs and providing externships for public school teachers. We also held a Workshop On Wheels in which agency staff visited a number of facilities to learn about best practices and innovations. A day-long Training Buffet, attended by 132 water and wastewater professionals from 37 Bay Area utilities, covered a wide array of topics.

We look forward to expanding our activities in the coming year in order to provide even greater value to our member agencies.

Teachers Take Plunge into Water Externships
Teachers learn about lab procedures from a manager at EBMUD

Ten Bay Area teachers took the plunge into the world of water and wastewater agencies by participating in BAYWORK week-long externships this summer.  The first group of five teachers spent a week visiting SFPUC facilities and learning about a range of topics from the gravity fed system bringing water from Hetch Hetchy to the agency’s Bio Fuel Grease Cycle.  In mid-July five more teachers spent a week hosted by EBMUD and the City of Hayward, where they explored the interior of a water reservoir, toured a wastewater treatment plant and heard from lab managers about water testing processes.

Participating teachers developed curricula that use real-life examples from the water and wastewater industry.  The curricula will increase students’ awareness of careers in the industry, while encouraging them to develop the core skills and knowledge required for careers in water.  The new curricula will also be made public for other teachers to use (look for it on the BAYWORK website’s Educator tab).  This summer’s externships were funded by a grant to Jewish Vocational Service.  An Externship was also held at the Santa Clara Valley Water District earlier this year and more will be offered again in the spring and summer of 2019 (Locations TBD).

Teachers inspect an empty water reservoir at the City of Hayward

Bringing Potential Employees into Our utilities
Wo participants in our Laney College bridge program visit EBMUD.
Maintenance and Asset Management Workshop: Another successful BAYWORK event

Our members tell us that networking and staff preparedness training are some of the most important benefits they receive through BAYWORK. On May 30th, nearly 100 Bay Area Water Industry staff from 32 utilities and organizations gathered in Napa to attend the second BAYWORK Maintenance and Asset Management Workshop.  According to one participant, “The opportunity to see what software and management strategies other agencies are using was very helpful. I learned about a few tools that would improve some of my work.”

The workshop featured presentations from representatives of Napa Sanitation District, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Ross Valley Sanitary District, and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

The workshop included small group discussions with report-outs.

Robert Scott, BAYWORK Staff Preparedness Chair, facilitated the workshop, in which participants learned about best practices from asset management programs in pump maintenance, creek management, and pipelines and vaults.  Presenters also shared information on how to phase in a program, as well as scheduling and asset management software.

Robert Scott, BAYWORK Staff Preparedness Chair, facilitated the Maintenance and Asset Management Workshop.

“I thought this year’s workshop was energizing because many left the event with something they could take back to their organization and implement,” said Robert. “BAYWORK puts on workshops like this, so that our workers — our greatest assets — have the resources they need to develop, organize and execute strategies that extend the lifespan of their physical assets!”

Copies of the presentation along with video of the day can be found on the BAYWORK website under Past Events.

Michael Kushner, BAYWORK Manager

Welcome Michael Kushner, BAYWORK’s new manager.  His position is funded through a High Road Training Partnership grant, which was awarded to our partners at Jewish Vocational Service.  Michael previously served as the Water Pathways Coordinator at Peralta Community College District. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in various management positions at the SEIU Education Fund where he led workforce development programs for employees of Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Alameda Health System and a number of other employers.  He has extensive experience working in partnership with community colleges and employers to deliver career training, and helped lead an apprenticeship program for Medical Coders.  Michael will be helping us implement BAYWORK’s new Sustainable Business Model.  As part of that effort he will be meeting with individual agencies to find ways to increase their engagement with BAYWORK.  When he is not working to strengthen our workforce reliability Michael likes to listen to live music and hike with his wife.  Michael can be reached at mkushner@jvs.org or (510) 407-7629.

Upcoming BAYWORK Events
  • North Bay Group Kickoff Meeting – 8/28/18 (at Ross Valley Sanitation District)
  • Candidate Development Sub-committee – 8/29/18 (at SFPUC)
  • Workshop On Wheels – 9/12/18 (Tracy, Stockton Manteca, Modesto)
  • BAYWORK Training Buffet – 11/14/18 (at EBMUD)
  • BAYWORKS Executive Committee Meetings – Second Wednesdays in October, December, February, April and the final week of May

BAYWORK is a collaborative of water and wastewater utilities in the greater Bay Area working together to ensure operational reliability by addressing the industry’s workforce needs. WATERWORK is a project of BAYWORK and Jewish Vocational Service with funding from the California Workforce Development Board.

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