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Water and Wastewater Competency Model

In 2009, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) worked with its membership to identify the specific competencies required for workers in the water and wastewater industry. In collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the results of those efforts were translated into the competency model framework provided by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to create the first version of the model. In 2015, these organizations reconvened to begin the process of updating the model. Developed as a collaborative effort with subject matter experts from partnering organizations, the updated model was finalized in March 2016. Information about the specific content updates can be found in the Summary of Changes.

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Water and Wastewater Competency Model


Water and Wastewater Building Blocks Pyramid

1.1 Interpersonal Skills Displaying skills to work effectively with others from diverse backgrounds. 1.2 Integrity Displaying strong moral principles and work ethic. 1.3 Professionalism Maintaining a professional presence. 1.4 Initiative Demonstrating a commitment to effective job performance by taking action on one’s own and following through to get the job done. 1.5 Adaptability and Flexibility Displaying the capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements. 1.6 Dependability and Reliability Displaying responsible behaviors at work. 1.7 Lifelong Learning Demonstrating curiosity and a persistent desire for continuous learning. 2.1 Reading Understanding written sentences, paragraphs, and figures in work-related documents on paper, on computers, or adaptive devices. 2.2 Writing Using standard business English to compile information and prepare written documents on paper, computers, or adaptive devices. 2.3 Mathematics Using mathematics to express ideas and solve problems. 2.4 Science and Technology Using scientific rules and methods to express ideas and solve problems on paper, on computers, or on adaptive devices. 2.5 Communication Listening, speaking, and signaling so others can understand using a variety of methods, including hearing, speech, American Sign Language, instant messaging, text-to-speech devices, etc. 2.6 Critical and Analytical Thinking Using logical thought processes to analyze information and draw conclusions. 2.7 Computer Skills Using information technology and related applications, including adaptive devices and software, to convey and retrieve information. 3.1 Teamwork Working cooperatively with others to complete work assignments. 3.2 Customer Focus Efficiently and effectively addressing the needs of clients. 3.3 Planning and Organizing Planning and prioritizing work to manage time effectively and accomplish assigned tasks. 3.4 Creative Thinking Generating innovative and creative solutions. 3.5 Problem Solving and Decision Making Generating, evaluating, and implementing solutions to problems. 3.6 Working with Tools and Technology Selecting, using, and maintaining tools and technology, including adaptive tools and new technology, to facilitate work activity. 3.7 Scheduling and Coordinating Making arrangements that fulfill all requirements as efficiently and economically as possible. 3.8 Checking, Examining, and Recording Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/digital format, including adaptive devices and software. 3.9 Business Fundamentals Using information on basic business principles, trends, and economics. 4.1 Industry Principles & Concepts Knowledge of the basic and emerging principles of the water and wastewater industry. 4.2 Quality Control & Continuous Improvement Demonstrate the ability to design, analyze, and effectively use systems, components, and methods within a framework of quality and continuous improvement. 4.3 Troubleshooting Diagnose and correct abnormalities and malfunctions in equipment and production processes. 4.4 Environmental Laws & Regulations Compliance with federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local environmental laws and regulations that impact the utility industry. 4.5 Safety Awareness Compliance with the procedures necessary to ensure a safe work environment. 5.1 Facilities Operations & Maintenance Treatment of water and wastewater. 5.2 Field Operations Operation and maintenance of water/wastewater system infrastructure. 5.3 Public Health & Environmental Protection Adherence to federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local laws and regulations and institution of practices that protect public health and the environment. 5.4 Safety & Security Ensures safety of the public, employees, the facilities, and the system infrastructure. Click here to search for O*NET Occupational Competencies Profiles