22 Missourians Promoted to Journeyman Status in Water/Wastewater Operations
Ashland, MO (STL.News) The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) apprenticeship program held its promotion ceremony for the latest group of advancing apprentices in water and wastewater systems operations on Friday, August 12, at the Mighty Oak Lodge in Lebanon. The crowd, numbering near 100, included the apprentices, family and friends, system managers and mentors, MRWA staff, and US Department of Labor (US DOL) Apprenticeship and Training Representative Tracy Laughery.
The 2-year program has now promoted a total of 27 apprentices to journeymen. Prior to the promotion ceremony, Missouri’s MRWA ranked #1 in the nation for its number of apprentices enrolled in the program with, 71 apprentices. There are currently 34 states with water/wastewater operations apprenticeship programs, with the number of apprentices totaling 396.
MRWA Apprenticeship Trainer Donald Jones opened the ceremony, addressing those in attendance. Additionally, Park Hills Director of City Utilities Frank Shovlin, US DOL’s Tracy Laughery, and MRWA Executive Director Howard Baker shared sentiments about the significance of the accomplishment of completing the 2-year apprenticeship program. During his address, Baker remarked, “The operators [water/wastewater] of today and tomorrow are not the same operators we had yesterday. There was chemistry and biology, and you had to monitor pressures and work with pumps…you still have to do that…but the operators of today and tomorrow must also understand technology such as GIS Mapping and SCADA system controls and their role in system operations.”
Representing 12 Missouri counties, 19 of the 22 apprentices were present to be promoted. During the ceremony, apprentices received US DOL Journeyman Certificates from Laughery, Baker, and MRWA Board President Dave Waller. In addition to the US DOL certification, the newly promoted journeymen received MRWA certification, challenge coin, and jacket displaying their journeyman status from MRWA Apprenticeship Coordinator Billy Everett and Jones.
Following the ceremony was a luncheon honoring the journeyman, celebrating this new chapter in their careers. During this time of fellowship and networking, Jeff Benson with the City of Potosi and wastewater apprentice mentor commented, “This apprenticeship program is very much worth the time and effort the apprentices put in. Our apprentice is actually showing me things I never knew. In 3 years, I’ll be retiring, and he’ll be taking my place, and it’s great knowing my replacement is well-qualified to do the job.”
The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the needs of Missouri water and wastewater systems. MRWA’s mission is to be the leading source of professional services, support, and representation for Missouri water and wastewater utilities.
SOURCE: MRWA on August 13, 2022