Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016 - (Page 24)

eDuCatION aND a Career IN water lessons in water w A Number of Educational Opportunities Available for Students BY SaNDY SMItH While it is clear that finding the next generation of workers is an issue for the industry, replacing an experienced worker with a newcomer isn't always easy. A number of programs are attempting to ensure those replacement workers come into the job with some measure of knowledge about water. "It's hard to replace those folks leaving with 30 or 40 years of experience with a first-year student," said Keith Richmond, an instructor in St. Cloud (Minn.) Technical and Community College's Water Environment Technologies program, where students can pursue a diploma in water environment technologies or an St. Cloud Technical & Community College. 24 SeCOND Quarter 2016 associate's degree. "We've found that 'Hire them off the streets and get them trained and licensed' often has a high failure rate. Learning the language of water and wastewater takes time." Richmond points out that students who complete St. Cloud's diploma or associate's program pass state exams 100 percent of the time, compared to others who don't attend such a program. The same is true at Bismarck (N.D.) State College's National Energy Center of Excellence, which offers a one-year program in water and wastewater. "These programs help prepare people for the exams and give them confidence about what the industry is about," said Ryan Caya, program manager. "It's not just a person with mud on the boots going into the facility to work. They'll have working knowledge about how that facility works." Not one-size-fits-all Because of the need and the great career opportunities, educational offerings designed to reach future industry workers are on the rise in high schools, community and technical colleges and government training efforts. For the latter, look to Alaska, where a wastewater treatment program has been in operation for more than 20 years through the Alaska Job Corps program. "Overall, this program is very valuable to the state of Alaska," said Malyn Smith, the Alaska Job Corps' center director. "It affords students a big opportunity to better themselves, to have the training and then be placed in a job where most of the time it starts with $20-25 an hour. That is something for these students that didn't have the opportunity before." The Job Corps program, aimed at those ages 16-24, is about six to eight months; students work at their own pace and then spend 1,950 hours of workbased learning. They must complete their high school diploma or general education development (GED) to be eligible to pursue state certification. Many times, graduates end up working for in a rural Alaskan village where potable water is an issue. Some students, though, have taken jobs in Washington state, or on the Alaskan pipeline project. Often, students are hired by the site where they

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016

From the President
Careers in Rural Water
Water University
Credential from Water U Helps Land the Job
Lessons in Water
Finance: Tracking Down Non-Revenue Water
Technology: GIS and the 5 Ws
Emergency Management: Drought to Flood: Oklahoma
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider
Four Key Benefits to Incorporating Cellular Technology into Your Utility Management System
The WaterPro Online Community
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016