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MAP Announcement

The Midwest Assistance Program (MAP) Board of Directors accepted the resignation of MAP’s CEO Marcie McLaughlin effective May 1, 2013.  “Ms. McLaughlin has worked tirelessly for MAP, MAP’s Board and the rural communities that MAP serves.  It is with regret that we accept her resignation,” said Board Chair Richard Cavender.  “We know that Ms. McLaughlin will continue to support and advocate for rural communities as she has done for her entire career.”
 
The MAP Board has promoted Michael Brownfield to the position of MAP Executive Director.  Mr. Brownfield joined MAP four years ago as a technical assistance provider.  His leadership has since been called upon as a field manager, program director and now executive director.  “Mr. Brownfield’s experience with MAP and the RCAP network, as well as his years managing several aspects of the Missouri Nation Guard, makes him well qualified to assume MAP’s leadership role,” added Mr. Cavender.
 
Ms. McLaughlin will assist Mr. Brownfield with this transition through May 31, 2013.

Recruiting Veterans for a Water Treatment Career Opportunity

Jason Gorr, Technical Assistance Provider: As many of us Technical Assistance Providers know and try to convey to Utility Managers and Boards/Councils, on average, Veterans often possess many of the skills and traits that allow them to become exceptional employees in our field.  Previous experiences and training that further develop senses of responsibility, hard work, leadership, problem-solving, and integrity are exactly what is needed in the industry.  Often Vets  already possess job-related skills of the science based and mechanical nature due to their service experience.  Also a team approach and concern for the public is inherently stressed during training.  One of the biggest plusses I see from our service people, is the maturity gleaned which can allow them to make better choices and become better long-term employees.
 
I recently participated in a webinar-based training event focused on identifying ways Military Veterans can enter the Water Treatment Career Field.  This webinar was done by EPA staff in an effort to teach employers interested in hiring Veterans all the benefits both they and the Veteran are eligible to receive.  Programs focused on education benefits, mentoring/apprenticeship, and on-the-job training were all covered.  In reality, it’s often overwhelming for Veterans and potential employers alike to try to decipher the immense range of possible options that may best help them. 
 
The beauty of this training was they actually detailed some of the specifics and included contacts I’d like to pass on to others interested in learning about the process.
 
1. EPA and the Veterans Administration recognize the need for this ‘pathway’ to exist in May of 2012 when they created an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating such:
Ø Basically the Water Sector needs more and better employees and we all want to help our Veterans find good careers upon their re-entry to the civilian life.
 
2. The VA has created information to better help Utilities Recruit potential employees.
 
3. Programs such as On-The-Job-Training (OJT), Special Employer Incentive (SEI), and Non-Paid Work Experience all benefit both the employers and the Vets and can be utilized for eligible candidates where best suited.
 
Ø Site designed to connect employers with employees
 
5. National VetSuccess Employment Coordinators List
 
6. GI Bill (is incorporated into some of the above programs also) can be used to become educated and certified prior or during employment in the Water Sector for Eligible Vets
Ø Information: http://www.gibill.va.gov/ – (888) 442-4551
This blog was written by Jason Gorr, Technical Assistance Provider for Midwest Assistance Program.

RCAP’s A Drop of Knowledge, February 2013

RCAP’s electronic newsletter, A Drop of Knowledge, February issue is out! This issue is all about establishing and strengthening relationships in your community. To view the issue, CLICK HERE. doknameplate_med

2013: United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation!

United Nations: In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154). In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, also will be dedicated to water cooperation. Therefore, UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the 2013 United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation, in particular because of the Organization’s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication. Given the intrinsic nature of water as a transversal and universal element, the United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation naturally would embrace and touch upon all these aspects.

The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services. The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and the linkages with the Millennium Development Goals. It also will provide an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and to support the formulation of new objectives that will contribute towards developing water resources that are truly sustainable.

Visit the UN Water Cooperation website for additional information!2013logo_en

Office of Community Services highlights MAP’s work in South Dakota

The Office of Community Services (OCS), an Office of the Administration for Children and Families, recently highlighted MAP’s work, funded by OCS, in Coleman, South Dakota.

“The City of Coleman, South Dakota, requested MAP assistance to help address discrepancies in water records, water main breaks and areas of stagnant water.  The city’s current water meters had become obsolete and unserviceable. MAP helped the city develop and submit the State Water Plan Application and funding applications.  MAP helped secure funds for additional meter and water main projects and they will help the City of Coleman repair and/or replace all the water mains in the entire community.”

“With funding from ACF’s RCD program, MAP continues to work with the community as part of the Water Main Project and helps to ensure that the people of the City of Coleman have a safe, secure and clean water and wastewater infrastructure.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.

If your community is in need of water or wastewater technical assistance, visit our website, www.map-inc.org, for more information.

MAP Works Closely With All Levels of Government And Funding Agencies

Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirms federal arrangement of EPA and USDA programs for water infrastructure funding

A new report finds that no duplication at the federal level exists among the programs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provide drinking water and wastewater infrastructure funding to small, rural communities.

In the report, “Rural Water Infrastructure: Additional Coordination Can Help Avoid Potentially Duplicative Application Requirements,” GAO recommended changes by the agencies specifically to “help states develop uniform preliminary engineering reports, develop guidelines to help states develop uniform environmental analyses, and reemphasize the importance of state-level coordination.” EPA and USDA oversee the three largest federally funded drinking water and wastewater funding programs for communities with populations of 10,000 or less.

The Midwest Assistance Program’s (MAP) work is related to these programs in key ways.  “MAP staff uses all these federal and state programs for the benefits of the communities that we serve,” commented Marcie McLaughlin, MAP CEO.  “We often are a key player in the statewide effort to coordinate projects and funding.  In the last six months alone, a total of $897,000 in funding has been leveraged from these agencies for rural communities.”

Communities that MAP assists for no charge relate in a direct and beneficial way from the programs of these agencies. Many water infrastructure projects in communities in MAP’s nine states are working to apply for and receive funding from the EPA’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs and the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Water and Waste Disposal program. MAP assists the staff and board members of water utilities in communities with the application process for funding from these programs and with the other steps that are required to become eligible for loans and grants from these programs. It is on the applications and other requirements that GAO was making its recommendations.

MAP and the national network of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), also receives direct grants for its general operating budget to employ 120 staff members across the country to provide technical, managerial and financial assistance to small, rural communities from both the EPA’s and USDA’s water-related programs.

“We are pleased to see the GAO affirm what we already knew: The State Revolving Fund programs and Rural Utilities Service’s water and wastewater programs are not duplicative, but rather are complementary,” said Ari Neumann, Director of Policy Development and Applied Research in RCAP’s national office in Washington, D.C. He explained that together, the three programs serve water systems of all sizes, from small to large. “These programs contribute to the world-class clean and safe water and wastewater treatment that Americans expect and deserve.”

Neumann added that even with the three programs in place, they do not go far enough. “At the current levels of funding, they still do not address the nation’s continuing needs for water infrastructure financing, which EPA estimates are in excess of $600 billion over the next two decades,” he said.

“We agree with the report’s recommendations that the agencies should collaborate more to ensure that communities are subject to one uniform set of requirements and are pleased by the efforts that are currently underway at the federal level to standardize and streamline the application processes.”

Read the full report here.


Is Water on Your Ballot?

Next Tuesday, many American voters will be heading to the polls to vote for the next President of the United States, but will you also be voting on decisions that affect your water supply? Many states and cities will have water supply initiatives on their ballot, allowing the public to voice whether or not they are willing to pay for these upgrades. Brett Walton, writer for the Circle of Blue Water News, recently published an article which defines where the Presidential candidates stand on the topic of water supply and whether or not YOU may have the option to vote on your water supply initiatives. To read the article CLICK HERE.

MAP and RCAC Begin New Partnership

MAP is pleased to announce a partnership between MAP and our RCAP sister organization, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to provide technical assistance to communities in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming starting October 1, 2012.  The high quality of technical assistance will continue to be the same, as MAP staff currently serving these states are now RCAC employees.  This collaboration with MAP’s regional partner organization was developed to allow expanded support to these rural communities in this time of decreasing resources.

MAP looks forward to working more closely with RCAC and all the RCAP regional partners to improve and expand our technical assistance for rural communities!

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