The Young Professionals (YP) Committee encourages increased participation of young professionals (under age 35) in NEWEA and fosters professional development within the first five years of employment in the environmental field. The committee plans and organizes events and activities that are of interest and benefit to the young professional sector and NEWEA. A few examples of these events and activities are highlighted below:
Each year at the Annual Conference in January, the Mentoring Program pairs member and non-member YPs new to NEWEA with more-experienced mentors from NEWEA. The program helps introduce the benefits of WEF, NEWEA, and the Annual Conference to YPs, and encourages networking and new membership to WEF, NEWEA, and committees.
At the 2014 Annual Conference, we carried the program even further and integrated the student poster competition attendees into the day’s events. This effort proved very successful with over 30 mentees participating and over 15 mentors volunteering their time.
Operator Shadowing Program
Another key program that the NEWEA YPs have started involves shadowing wastewater treatment plant operators for a day or half a day at the various treatment plants around New England. This not only grants some less experienced YP members the knowledge and insight of how the operations works, but also highlights the different processes used at each facility throughout the region.
The NEWEA YPs currently have four plants signed up to participate in the program and the initial launch is expected to take place this summer.
One of the critical parts of a YP’s career is building and maintaining network relations. The environmental field is a tight knit community of professionals and events such as Red Sox outings, bowling events and even meeting at a local restaurant to catch up helps foster these relationships. The NEWEA YPs take part in events that support the Water For People fundraising efforts and have recently begun collaborating with the New England Water Works Young Professionals group.