A new bill is moving through the California Legislature that may make it easier for veterans to get jobs within the state's water industry.
Assemblymember Todd Gloria helped introduce AB 1588 to stem the phenomenon called the "silver tsunami" in which thousands of water workers are expected to retire from the water industry in the coming years.
AB 1588 is aimed at helping water employers fill civilian water and wastewater operator roles with military veterans.
The big challenge for water employers is that most candidates first need a state certification to work in the water industry.
Many veterans leave the military with the skills and experience needed as water workers but they had to start at the bottom of the water industry to get the state certification.
But the bill will instead allow veterans to get credit for the skills and experience they’ve gained in the military to make it easier for them to get hired in the water industry.
U.S. Navy veteran and Assistant Chief of Operations for the Otay Water District Jose Martinez says veterans are the right candidates for to fill these jobs because of "the hard work, they’ve already demonstrated in their careers and their time in the military."
"But the other reason it’s really exciting as a water manager as somebody who’s responsible for like hiring and trying to get the best people and recruit the best people for this industry, it really opens up the talent pool."
The bill has already passed the state assembly and was ordered to the state senate. It is expected to go before the Veterans Affairs Committee on July 9.