Streamline - Winter 2014 - (Page 29)

Virginia Offenders Train for Wastewater Treatment Jobs BY LISA E. KINNEY, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS incarcerated offenders in an area of need for many Commonwealth communities, a new Virginia Department of Corrections program allows offenders to get certified to properly deal with wastewater. LOOKING TO TRAIN After they leave prison, these offenders can gain employment as licensed professionals in the field of wastewater treatment. "Every community, large or small, has wastewater treatment needs," explained Nottoway Correctional Center Treatment Plant Operator Robbie Jones. "There are many jobs available, and these jobs require increasingly stringent credentials. People don't realize how much it takes. A lot of science and math goes into wastewater operation." Eleven apprentices have completed the year-long program, and 10 have passed the Class 4 wastewater certification and received an operator's license. One offender has advanced and earned a Class 3 certification, and at least one former offender now works at a wastewater treatment facility in his community. Only offenders deemed to be low security risks may apply for and enter the program. Violent and sexual offenders are not eligible. To train the offenders, VADOC offers classroom and computer course work sanctioned by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). To complete their apprenticeships, applicants must make it through an interview panel and a fact-finding conference; submit a variety of paperwork; and document their hours in the classroom and at work. There are four licensing classifications, each with progressively more rigorous requirements. While much of the learning is a traditional combination of book study and on-the-job training, the apprentices also have access to computers, which, for A wastewater treatment program apprentice at Nottoway Correctional Center grabs a sample from a basin. Dennis Greene, an offender at Haynesville Correctional Unit 17, checks a wastewater sample. Because of a new VADOC wastewater treatment apprenticeship program, Greene has earned a Class 4 wastewater certification and received an operator's license. He aspires to work in the wastewater treatment field upon his release. A wastewater treatment program apprentice at Nottoway Correctional Center checks dissolved oxygen content of the wastewater. security reasons, are stand-alone units without connections to the internet. The new program is quite popular, and part of the draw is the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment. But the primary attraction is the promise of future job opportunities. Haynesville Correctional Unit 17 Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Graham L. Jett, standing, works with Dennis Greene. Greene has received a combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training to complete a VADOC wastewater treatment apprenticeship. www.vrwa.org 29 http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2014

From the President: Three Years Later
From the Executive Director: Rattling About the Important Things
Procrastination
Water and Wastewater Systems
Regret: How to Live with What You Cannot Change
OSHA Compliance for Public Works
Nutrient Contamination and Source Water
NRWA Summaries
USDA Rural Development
Cleared for Takeoff!
Emergency Tank Repair Prevention and Preparation
Virginia Offenders Train for Wastewater Treatment Jobs
2014-2015 Membership Directory
Throwing My Loop: Revelators
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
VRWA Training Calendar
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/ Ad.com

Streamline - Winter 2014

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