New Jersey American Water Named Youth Employer of the Year for Its Partnership With Hopeworks Camden

Camden, NJ (December 18, 2020) - New Jersey American Water received the Youth Employer of the Year Award at the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals  (NAWDP) Virtual Youth Symposium. New Jersey American Water was nominated for the award by Hopeworks in recognition of its partnership for local youth workforce development and its program with Hopeworks’ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enterprise.

The NAWDP Virtual Youth Symposium is an annual event that brings together workforce development professionals focused on youth professional development. Every year, it honors an organization that has prioritized supporting local youth workforce development. This year, 500 people attended the Virtual Youth Symposium.

Hopeworks, a nonprofit and social enterprise dedicated to providing a positive, healing environment that propels young people to build strong futures, worked with New Jersey American Water to train 60 youth associates on GIS mapping. The youth associates used GIS mapping to create a map that made it easier for the company to locate and fix water main breaks.

“We were thrilled to nominate New Jersey American Water for the 2020 Youth Employer of the Year Award,” said Dan Rhoton, Executive Director of Hopeworks. “The on-the-job experience our youth associates gained from working with New Jersey American Water is invaluable. Four of the youth associates who completed that program and graduated college now work at New Jersey American Water. This highly successful partnership is a model for creating a pipeline between workforce development and employment.”

Since 2014, New Jersey American Water has invested an estimated $900,000 directly into GIS internships at Hopeworks, providing real-world work experience in one of the most in-demand, growing fields, while benefiting our customers by improving operational efficiency field crews navigating digital information. The partnership with New Jersey American Water has resulted in several Hopeworks youth securing positions after their internships, as well as creating a steady pipeline of jobs for Hopeworks graduates.

“Our partnership with Hopeworks has been a large part of our GIS program for years,” said Donald Shields, Vice President and Director of Engineering, New Jersey American Water. “Our customers deserve quick response and accurate locations of assets is paramount. The ability to know how to use mapping software, as well as entering data and work order information is just as important as the physical upgrades, and the youth from Hopeworks continue to provide reliable, efficient data that helps us keep the water flowing.”        




With a focus on education, technology, and entrepreneurship, Hopeworks provides a positive, healing environment that propels young people to build strong futures and break the cycle of violence and poverty in Camden, New Jersey. Hopeworks trainees learn state-of-the-art computer applications such as geographic information services (GIS) and website development, as well as the necessary professional skills to land future employment. Since its founding in 2000, over 3,000 young people have become Hopeworks trainees and become connected to life-changing opportunities where their growing technology skills go to work for enterprising businesses within the community. Hopeworks has been recognized regionally and nationally by organizations such as The Scattergood Foundation and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Learn more about Hopeworks programs at

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people. For more information, visit and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Denise Venuti Free

Director of Communications and External Affairs