Every industry is losing its Baby Boomers.
This means every industry — energy, healthcare, construction, advanced manufacturing, computer technology and financial services — needs a new generation of employees, and smart companies are recruiting the best and brightest students to join their workforce. This is a competition for talent, and water utilities need to compete.
Utility+College: three examples
The San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies select interns annually for a 33-week program with up to 32 hours a week of hands-on training and evening classes in water technology at Cuyamaca or Palomar colleges. Eighty percent of interns are placed in full-time positions.
BACWA is a coalition of 25 Bay Area water and wastewater agencies. Baywork is their collaboration with the Bay Area Community College Consortium, CA-NV AWWA, and the California Water Environment Association to recruit and train applicants.
PowerPathways is a collaboration between PG&E, local community colleges, the public workforce development system and labor unions. Bay Area and Central Valley students are screened and selected for 240 hours of hands-on and classroom training.
A strategy for water utilities
Partner with a community college to develop a water technology program to train and certify students, and create a pool of qualified job applicants. Provide instructors and equipment for hands-on learning.
Promote career pathways
Introduce middle school through university students to one of the key challenges of their lifetime: managing water resources, infrastructure and demand. Promote solutions, career pathways and your utility’s tuition reimbursement.
Completing a bachelor’s degree while working full time at a water utility could take 10-15 years. Smart utilities will support and mentor employees, and develop their next generation of managers with degrees in:
IT (telemetry & networks)
Where to start
Call your local community college.
Ask for the Dean of Career Technical Education (CTE) or Workforce Training. Tell them you would like to start a training program for your water utility. And tell them you already have approved curriculum. Because you do.
Through the California Waterworks Grant, Cuyamaca College, College of the Canyons and Santiago Canyon College made 10 courses available for colleges developing new water technology programs. Each course is approved and included in the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory. Courses include a recommended textbook, powerpoints, quizzes and exams. Customize the curriculum based on your utility’s infrastructure and workplace culture.
Introduction to Water Technology
Fundamentals of Water and Wastewater
Math Calculations for Water and Wastewater
Distribution & Collection Courses
Water Distribution I
Water Distribution II
Water Treatment I
Water Treatment II
Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse
Water Resources Management