At a time when water problems plague urban cities like Flint, Mich., and Newark, N.J., Springfield Technical Community College is launching an online certificate training course to prepare students for careers in water treatment.
And for students enrolled in any community college across the state, the training is free of charge.
The course, called Concepts & Practices of Basic Drinking Water Treatment, begins Sept. 9 and runs through Dec. 6.
Individuals not enrolled at a community college as well as employees at water utilities can register for the class for a fee.
The Workforce Development Center at Springfield Technical Community College, the Massachusetts Water Works Association and the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission have joined together to offer the training which prepares students to take the state Board of Certification exam.
The program provides career opportunities for students who will be qualified for jobs such as water systems manager, water treatment operator and water quality technician.
Students who complete the course may choose to continue their education at STCC in fields such as engineering, urban studies, business administration and more to pursue positions such as water/wastewater engineer, civil engineer and city planner.
STCC received $30,000 from the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission to fund the development and offering of the online course.
Community college students enrolled in the 12-week course will need to attend at least one of the two five-hour micro-internships at a water treatment facility. For students not enrolled at one of the community colleges, the micro-internships are optional.
Instructor Daniel Laprade, of the Massachusetts Water Works Association, has been working in the drinking water field for more than 30 years. An instructor for the past 15 years, Laprade is a Massachusetts registered professional engineer and holds both Grade 2 Water Treatment and Distribution licenses in Massachusetts.
Laprade will ask students to complete weekly readings and submit quizzes. They also will be expected to participate in online discussions and take a mid-term and final exam.
He said now is a good time to learn about water treatment, because the demand for trained employees will continue to rise as older workers leave the industry.
Laprade added that many cities are dealing with aging infrastructure, which represents a challenge for water treatment workers.
In Newark, N.J, residents over recent weeks have been using bottled water after lead was found in tap water. The city will replace old pipes that were the source of the lead problem. The crisis in Newark echoes what residents of the city of Flint, Mich., faced in recent years.
For more information and to register online, visit stcc.edu/water. Prospective students can also visit the Workforce Development Center at STCC in Building 27, room 143. To speak with someone about the class, call (413) 755-4225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.