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Federal government addressing water industry qualified worker shortage

City of Grand Rapids water system chemist
Contreras-Alvarado, Izamar
City of Grand Rapids water system chemist

EPA introducing a new training program supported by the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College and Bay College.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investing $3.8 million in developing the next generation of water professionals. A portion of that money, $500,000 awarded to the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College and Bay College implementing fresh water and wastewater introduction and training to middle and high school students and provide opportunities for high unemployment neighborhoods.

In a news release, GRCC’s School of Workforce Development says it’s launching boot camp-style workshops for anyone interested in water and wastewater careers. The services are critical to maintaining public, environmental and economic health.

Wayne Jernberg, water system manager for the city of Grand Rapids said, “Like water and sewer utilities across the nation, Grand Rapids is experiencing staffing shortages due to retirements and the lack of a diverse pool of qualified water professionals. We are confident that this partnership with GRCC will help to address our long-term workforce needs and encourage young people within the community to pursue a career in the water industry.”

Bay College is assisting with its Water Resource Management programs administering specialized training.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.