I am seeking your thoughts, suggestions, and input as it relates to involving those new to the water and wastewater profession in the operator licensing process.

As you know, a little more than two years ago, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) made a change in the exam application process. The change was to go from paper applications to electronic applications, and to perform the background check and qualifications compliance, when the application is submitted.

A very similar process has been in place for years for those applying for the “A” license, just not electronic. Now all levels of applications are treated the same, and all are electronic. The most impactful change with this electronic application process is, TCEQ needs time to review and approve the applications. This review and approval process is requiring up to 30-days. So those desiring to test, either for the first time or to advance a license, must submit all the required paperwork and pay the application fee 30-days before the test date.

For the new hires, this application and testing process is something they have not been exposed to, so for the TWUA Regional Schools, we are noticing a decline in numbers of those hoping to be approved and challenge the various exams at the conclusion of the training event.

Your assistance and input is needed to help identify these new hires and help establish a system for notifying when TWUA Training will be provided. We also want to assist with reminders related to the 30-day TCEQ approval window.

If the person has a TCEQ license or has been in the industry for a period of time, contact is less of a problem. Where the breakdown seems to be happening is the new hires and those who have yet to license.

TWUA has established a Twitter account , and there is a Facebook page, but in your opinion, how do we effectively establish a following? How do we reach a new hire in your entity? Would it be of benefit to have a process on the TWUA website whereby the new hires sign up for a free email blast notification? If exam numbers continue to dwindle, TCEQ Central Office will stop making exams an option at TWUA Regional events.

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