DC Water and the District Department of Employment Services Launch the Lead Free DC Community Activators Program
May 10, 2023
Today, DC Water announced the launch of the Lead Free DC Community Activators Program, a workforce development training program in partnership with the District Department of Employment Services (DOES) Division of State Initiatives (DSI). The 2023-2024 program has recruited 20 trainees from across the District to develop community outreach skills by supporting Lead Free DC (LFDC). LFDC is a District-wide initiative to replace all lead service lines by 2030. The success of LFDC hinges in part on outreach to property owners to educate them about the initiative and secure their participation.
Trainees will receive on-the-job training to equip them with knowledge, skills, and experience necessary for community engagement. By working under LFDC, they will be part of a major public outreach initiative to address an important community health issue.
Elevated lead levels in household tap water can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. To help protect the community’s health, Community Activators Program participants will learn to inform residents and property owners about replacing lead service lines.
The LFDC program training builds several skills including construction inspection, door to door canvassing, stakeholder engagement, customer service, marketing and advertising, and data management. During onboarding, trainees will get an overview of each area of communications and public outreach. They receive their year-long assignment with the work stream that best matches their previous experience, building new knowledge on their existing skillset.
“DC Water has an ambitious goal and robust plan to remove all lead service lines in the District by the end of the decade,” said David L. Gadis, DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager. “With support from the Community Activators training program, we can expand our outreach and education efforts significantly over the next year while developing a strong and dedicated workforce for the District.”
“DOES is excited to again partner with DC Water as we recognize how critical public-private partnerships are to the progression of the District’s infrastructure and economy,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “The Lead Free DC program is another milestone for District residents, as we continue to bridge the gap between education and workforce development by ensuring Washingtonians have access to high quality workforce training and career services that improve lives and supports communities.”
Upon completion of the DC Water Community Activators Program, participants will have qualifications to support community engagement work in the District. They will also have the opportunity to apply to the DC Water Works program for additional training.
About DC Water
DC Water provides more than 700,000 residents and 21.3 million annual visitors in the District of Columbia with retail water and wastewater (sewer) service. With a total service area of approximately 725 square miles, DC Water also treats wastewater for approximately 1.6 million people in neighboring jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia.
About Lead Free DC
In 2019, DC Water launched Lead Free DC (LFDC) to accelerate replacement of all service lines made of lead or galvanized-iron pipe. LFDC’s mission is to equitably replace all lead and galvanized iron service line pipes by 2030. By replacing them with copper pipes, DC Water can continue delivering safe drinking water to residents of DC. LFDC also helps customers identify the type of pipe on their property, to understand if it is lead or galvanized iron and requires replacement.