MSD plans to expand opportunity, build equity within Louisville’s water workforce

MSD plans to expand opportunity, build equity within Louisville’s water workforce
The Equity Task Force works with Atlanta, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh in addition to Louisville. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Metro Sewer District has partnered with other metro agencies to expand opportunities within its workforce.

The company released the Water Equity Roadmap on Thursday - a first for the company and part of a larger Equity Task Force including cities like Atlanta, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. The report aims to pinpoint ways MSD can build benefits for people in the city’s most vulnerable communities.

Historically, low-income people and communities of color have been greatly impacted by water affordability, aging infrastructure and flooding issues. By reviewing hiring policies and providing skills training, MSD hopes to give people in those areas a voice in their community’s needs.

MSD's equity report pinpoints ways the company can build benefits for people in the city’s most vulnerable communities.
MSD's equity report pinpoints ways the company can build benefits for people in the city’s most vulnerable communities. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

About $50 billion a year is invested nationally in water and wastewater infrastructure, according to Tony Parrott, Executive Director for MSD. He said he wants to make sure people all over the metro see the benefits of those stakes.

“The near term goal is to make sure that as we make those investments in infrastructure, that we’re giving economic inclusion and economic opportunity to those that normally do not have a seat at the table,” Parrott explained.

Tony Parrott, Executive Director of the Metro Sewer District.
Tony Parrott, Executive Director of the Metro Sewer District. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

The roadmap lays out steps MSD, along with groups like the Louisville Urban League, TARC and Louisville Water, can take to deepen their community impact. Recommendations include creating a job link portal or working with local school districts and metro government to build awareness of a career path in the water sector.

“We have to do things that are a little more intentional in terms of outreach, a little more intentional in terms of our policy, and a little more intentional in terms of how we’re getting workers connected with our contractors and workers connected with our organization,” Parrott said.

MSD expects the program to build over 20 to 30 years.

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