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July 27, 2010

Training program prepares students for careers in water and waste-water industries

WHO: Gavilan College Community and Contract Education, in partnership with San Benito County Water District, CH2M Hill OMI (City of Gilroy water plant), California American Water Company, San Jose Municipal Water System, City of Watsonville Water Department, San Benito County Workforce Investment Board, work2future, Santa Clara County Workforce Investment Board, City of Gilroy, City of Watsonville, Santa Clara Regional Occupation Program, UC Santa Cruz, Cuyamaca College, Cabrillo College and Hartnell College

WHAT: Was awarded an Industry Driven Regional Collaborative grant to fund the development of a Water Technology program.  This program is designed to prepare students for entry level employment in the public water supply or wastewater treatment industries or to qualify for more responsible positions within those industries.  Funding, provided the State of California Economic and Workforce Development Program, has been awarded but will not be available until a state budget is finalized. The grant will run  for 2 years: 2010-2011 and 2011/2012.

The Water Treatment Plant Operation Program, offered in short-term not-for-credit classes through Gavilan College's Contract and Community Education Program, consists of twelve modules. Training focuses on developing new and existing water operators with the knowledge and skills required to operate and maintain a water treatment facility producing safe and pleasant appearing water. Participants will gain valuable information to enhance their operational skills, making them more effective at their jobs and preparing them for State of California Water Treatment Certification. This program is certified through the California Department of Public Health for current employees who wish to improve their current certification level or maintain their required contact hours.  Fees vary, and some classes have materials or textbook requirements.

WHEN & WHERE: The first twelve week course is running this summer, every Tuesday from  6 to 9 p.m. at the Gilroy campus. Each class covers a different topic, and students have the option of registering for one, some, or all of the classes in the series. The summer series has already covered The Water Treatment Operator, Water Sources & Treatment, Reservoir Management & Intake Structures, Coagulation & Flocculation, Sedimentation, and Filtration. The series will continue in August and September with Disinfection for Water Treatment Parts 1 & 2, Corrosion Control,  Plant Operation, and Laboratory Procedures

Fall classes, starting in September, October and November, will include Fundamentals of Supervision for the Water Industry (4 monday evenings in Morgan Hill) Backflow Prevention Testing (14 sessions, Tues and Weds evenings in Watsonville), Intensive Review for the Water Treatment Exam (2 Saturdays in Watsonville), Anaerobic Systems (4 Tuesday evenings in Hollister), and Advanced Water Distribution 36-Hour Certificate program (12 Thursday evenings in Gilroy)

WHY:  There is a current shortage of skilled water and wastewater technicians, and a long-term demand for these skills.  Based on a 2009 survey of water and wastewater agencies and utilities in six Bay Area counties, employers are projected to need as many as 677 new and replacement workers in seven critical water and wastewater occupations over the next five years (Bay Area Centers of Excellence, Water and Wastewater Occupations, 2009).  Also, nearly half of today’s water technicians will reach retirement age in the next six-eight years (California Community College Association for Occupational Education, 2009). Over the longer-term, despite the current recession, these jobs are projected to grow by 17% in Santa Clara County and 19% statewide through 2016 (California Labor market Data). Employment in the water industry is increasingly viewed as a “green” occupation contributing directly to the stewardship of one of California’s most vital resources (

Updated: 3:58 a.m. July 30, 2010

Last modified: August 17, 2011
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800