Water industry jobs to be abundant

Emily Griffith Technical College ready with new water quality management tech program


In anticipation of industry trends and the retirement of baby boomers, Emily Griffith Technical College will introduce a new program in the Continuing Education Department to train individuals for high-demand jobs in the water sector.

The Water Quality Management Tech Program, which begins this fall, will prepare students for careers in the distribution, collection and treatment of water and wastewater.

Courses will provide specialized training to help prepare students for State of Colorado job certifications in these fields. Depending on whether a student attends full- or part-time, the courses can be completed in one or two semesters. Current high school students may also enroll, giving them a head-start on a valuable career path.

Scholarships are available for students that qualify.

Emily Griffith Technical College, the post-secondary arm of Denver Public Schools, is collaborating with the City of Denver Office of Economic Development Workforce Development, Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Workforce Center, Boulder County Workforce, Denver Water, the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association, the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association and other local and regional water and wastewater providers to develop the instructional plan.

"Denver Water is excited to help introduce the Water Quality Management Program into Denver Public Schools," said Matt Bond, Denver Water youth education specialist. "The relationship with DPS is the cornerstone of Denver Water's Youth Education Program and we're thrilled whenever we can find local, relevant ways to help Denver students learn more about careers in water."

Two million people are served by 78 water and wastewater utilities in Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver and Douglas counties. Industry sources estimate as many as 2,700 critical water positions could open up in these four counties and, on a state level, up to 4,500 jobs in the water industry may become available in the next five to six years. These positions will be a result of baby boomer retirements, job losses to other industries and population growth. The water industry has careers available with utilities, cities, counties and special districts in positions such as engineering, management, customer service and operations.

"Baby boomers represent about 40 percent of the current workforce and they are rapidly retiring. That means there will be openings in the highly-stable water utility field for newly-trained and qualified young people," said Steve Frank, public information officer for the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. "The industry will need the graduates this Water Quality Management Tech program will produce."

"Future openings in the water and wastewater industry represent much more than jobs. These are stable career opportunities with ample room for long-term advancement," said Leanna Salas, business development representative from the Denver Office of Economic Development. "The Denver workforce centers are proud to partner in this effort to increase the pipeline of trained individuals for these mission-critical positions."

The Water Quality Management Tech Program is part of a larger initiative of the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association, with funding for Get Into Water! an alliance of Colorado-based utilities, workforce centers, educators and other partners attracting people to work in the water industry. Get Into Water! is a program for youth and adults living in Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver or Douglas counties who are seeking a first-time career path or a career change. The initiative will fill a labor ‘pipeline' with qualified operators for jobs in various facets of the water industry.

For more information about the Water Quality Management Tech Program, please call 720-423-4716 or visit www.emilygriffith.edu to apply online.


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