Union Sanitary District’s Leadership School program recently received a National Environmental Achievement Award for workforce development from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA.) NACWA is a nationwide network of public wastewater and stormwater agencies that share a mission to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for the communities they serve.
USD established the program to prepare our future leaders and support long-term succession planning. “Like many organizations, the District is frequently faced with retirements of experienced staff that can be challenging to backfill in this competitive labor market,” says General Manager Paul Eldredge. “USD’s Leadership School was conceived as an opportunity to develop internal candidates who could not only fill these positions, but like their predecessors, become strong industry leaders. Conversely, participants may discover that management is not for them. This program provides employees the chance to consider the career path that best suits their interests.”
The Leadership School’s two-year course is a blend of learning opportunities. Participants complete external college-level business management coursework, attend in-house classes focused on USD-specific policies and processes, and are paired with executive team mentors to gain insight into what a management role at the District entails. All curriculum is developed in-house by District subject-matter experts.
“Leadership School has resulted in internal advancement opportunities that provide significant savings in training time and maintain our high productivity levels,” Eldredge says. “This helps us to continue providing customers reliable, cost-effective service.”
Photo: USD Staff Members with NACWA's NEAA Award: Treatment and Disposal Manager Armando Lopez, Organizational Performance Manager Karoline Terrazas, Human Resources Manager Gene Boucher