What is NGICP?
Housed under the WEF Stormwater Institute (SWI) — a center of excellence that provides national leadership for sustainable stormwater management — the NGICP provides the base-level skill set needed for entry-level workers to properly maintain, construct and inspect green infrastructure (GI). It was designed to meet international best practice standards and intended to establish a properly-trained workforce.
How is it used?
NGICP is a tool that can be used to meet the specific needs of each community. Some partners use NGICP as a workforce development program to engage the chronically un- and under-employed and provide them with a path to a livable wage in the green economy. Some partners use NGICP to train their own staff/contractors to properly inspect and maintain their own GI, and some partners simply use NGICP to enhance the knowledge of GI practitioners in their community.
How does it work?
NGICP has two components: the training and the exam. The training is provided by NGICP partners or licensees around the country. Because the program was developed to be a national, portable credential, the curriculum covers basic information. The dispersed nature of the training is beneficial because trainers are able to enhance the base curriculum with specific topics that are important regionally, such as specific climatic or regulatory issues. The program requires a minimum 35-hours of training, which includes both class and field work. However, based on the audience, regional trainers often increase the training hours, particularly if the applicants have never before been exposed to GI.
The exam is maintained and administered by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the body under which NGICP is seeking accreditation, requires the separation of exam and training to ensure that applicants are taught the body of knowledge and not simply trained to pass the exam.
Why is this program necessary?
Many traditional construction methods compact the soil to ensure structural stability, and many traditional stormwater maintenance methods remove vegetation to ensure proper functionality of the system. However, unlike traditional gray infrastructure, GI relies on soil porosity and vegetation to capture, store and treat runoff. If GI is constructed and maintained the way gray infrastructure is, system functionality is compromised. Additionally, GI is more visible and often designed to be an amenity. As such, these systems must be properly maintained to ensure that they don’t become eyesores.