Earlier this week, EPA formally transmitted the $2 million in competitive award funds to the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) Network, the final recipient for the FY 13 awards. The EFCs at the University of North Carolina and University of New Mexico are co-managing the effort through which all of the EFCs will work collaboratively with state primacy agencies to identify appropriate training and technical assistance for small systems in the areas of financial and managerial capacity.
More specifically, beyond traditional asset management training, the EFCs are also hoping to focus on additional topics such as rate-setting, fiscal planning, energy management, water loss reduction, regional collaboration/coordination/partnerships, access to funding sources, leadership, and strategies to enhance regulatory compliance through sustainable financing and management. The EFCs are partnering with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) for some of these trainings. The goal is to take advantage of AWWA’s regulatory and electronic expertise to enhance attendance at training and technical assistance events and to make free eLearning modules available. The EFCs also expect to offer training through a mix of in-person workshops, smaller group work sessions, “funder forums,” webinars, in-depth, onsite technical assistance, assistance via phone and email consultation, and online rate benchmarking dashboards.
While the preliminary outreach to state primacy agencies is likely to be through one of the UNC or UNM co-managers, the actual training and assistance is more likely to come from one or more of the EFCs that specialize in a particular training focus area. This means that your state’s actual training could come from one of these universities as well as the co-managers: Southern Maine, Syracuse, Maryland, Louisville (KY), Cleveland State, Wichita State (KS), and Dominican (CA). Again, depending on the type of training you and the EFCs arrange, your training could also come from AWWA.