| AWWA welcomes National Society of Black Engineers to CECorps partnership
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AWWA welcomes National Society of Black Engineers to CECorps partnership

In an effort to increase its impact in underserved communities, the Community Engineering Corps (CECorps) has entered into a partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

Community Engineering Corps logoCECorps, a partnership between AWWA, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA), identifies worthy infrastructure projects and provides pro-bono engineering and technical solutions for communities in need. A new memo of understanding will involve the NSBE volunteer network in CECorps projects.

When CECorps was launched in 2014, AWWA and the two other founding partners “had an instinct and a hope that we could make a better world through this partnership,” said David LaFrance, AWWA chief executive officer. “The magic of CECorps is the power of hope its volunteers bring to the communities they serve.”

NSBE is a student-governed, nonprofit organization formed 45 years ago and has a longstanding community service initiative called Technical OutReach and Community Help (TORCH). NSBE members may receive a complimentary membership in AWWA, ASCE or EWB-USA by working on CECorps projects.

NSBE National Chair Jocelyn Jackson said in a press release that joining forces with CECorps “will provide new ways for our members to positively impact their communities while learning from other ‘holistic’ engineers who are doing socially relevant work.”

LaFrance said CECorps partners and volunteers address infrastructure challenges in a socially responsible way, which is in line with AWWA’s core principle of advancing diversity and inclusion.

“This includes promoting solutions that improve equity in access to public infrastructure, considering the needs of diverse populations, and engaging volunteers who reflect the communities helped by CECorps,” he said.

Services provided through CECorps project teams help communities address engineering challenges posed by aging infrastructure. This includes tackling regulatory compliance violations, creating preliminary designs used to apply for state or federal funding, and providing design recommendations that inform community actions. CECorps projects address needs related to water and sanitation, agriculture, civil works, energy or structures.

A recent success story

Volunteer Bill PersichAn example of a CECorps project is one conducted at a rural K-8 school in Washington by volunteers from AWWA’s Pacific-Northwest Section (PNWS). The building’s drinking Stephen Barrwater had intermittently exceeded state action levels for lead and the school was asked by the Washington Department of Health to address the situation. (Pictured left, volunteer Bill Persich at school water faucet)

The PNWS-AWWA project team reviewed existing system reports and water quality data, conducted additional water sampling and evaluated various alternatives. With volunteer support, the school applied for and was awarded grants to replace piping and fixtures in the school.

For information about becoming a CECorps volunteer contact Stephen Barr (pictured right), AWWA’s CECorps Program Manager.