2003 Public/Private Partnership Awards

United Water/DC WASA and Goodwill Industries Non-Custodial Parents Training and Placement Program

Now in its second year, United Water and the Washington DC Water and Sewer Authority's (DCWASA) successful partnership program with Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries, continues to train and employ non-custodial parents in the Washington DC area. The Non-Custodial Parents Program was designed to assist unemployed and underemployed parents owing child support.

UMI, a subsidiary of United Water Resources, signed a three-year contract with DCWASA to replace 125,000 meters. Back in 2000, UMI knew that in order to meet the contract requirements it would need to hire additional meter technicians. At that time Goodwill Industries had begun a relationship with DC WASA that would allow their clients the opportunity to live the Goodwill slogan "Hand Up, Not A Hand-Out " by learning valuable and marketable skills.

The UMI/DC WASA program began with interviews of approximately sixty men from the Goodwill organization who were already participating in the Non-Custodial Parents Program. Representatives from UMI met with these men to determine their initial skill sets and training capacity. From that group, fifteen men were selected to begin a two-week training program. The first week consisted of mornings in the classroom where they were familiarized with meter basics, and the needs and expectations of UMI/DC WASA. Afternoons and the entire second week were spent out in the field working alongside skilled metering technicians. During the training period, trainees were paid the prevailing wage for laborers of $15.00 per hour. Once their training was completed, they received an instrument technician's rate of between $22.00 and $24.00 per hour, plus benefits.

While the UMI/DC WASA contract still has two years remaining, program leaders anticipate utilizing more of the participants in the Non-Custodial Parents Program, not only for this contract, but in other areas where Goodwill Industries programs exist and UMI provides services.

The Non Custodial Parents Program earned The City of Washington, DC and United Water. an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Mayors Business Council in 2002. For more information, contact Robyn Ashmen, Director, Communications Support, United Water; 201.767.2862; robyn.ashmen@umitedwater.com or Denise Grant, City of Washington, 202.277.6380; denise.grant@dc.gov.