California Water Associations Launch Internship Website as Profession Faces Shortage of Workers

The Internship board is supported by CA Water Careers, West Valley College

California’s water and wastewater agencies need approximately 6,000 new workers every year and that number continues to grow as more and more water professionals retire.

To highlight the wide variety of career paths available in the sector, several California associations have launched CAWaterInterns.org. The site lists available internships, apprenticeships and operator-in-training opportunities at California water and wastewater agencies. The website was made possible with the generous support of Water Career Pathways operated by West Valley College. The program is funded by the California Career Pathways Trust with an AB86 grant that was awarded to West Valley.

“Internships are a crucial part of the learning experience.  It is the final linkage in a student choosing a career path,” said David Esmaili, Bay Region Deputy Sector Navigator for Agriculture, Water, and Environmental Technology. “It’s the opportunity for both employers and students to decide if it is a good fit for them.”

 The site offers three key benefits for internship seekers:

  1. Search for internships by type and location
  2. Sign-up for email alerts based on your zip code so you can learn about new internships near you
  3. View Career Path info with in-depth details on job duties; required knowledge, skills and abilities; and salary ranges

“I always knew I would love a career in water and I do!” said Debi Lewis, CWEA’s President and an engineer with Stantec. “If you have a passion for saving the planet and helping your fellow human beings – this is a career for you. Design, build or operate great big things to help your community, and you get paid to do it.”

Careers in the water and wastewater profession have largely remained hidden until now. These public-sector jobs aren’t a secret – we want all Californians to know these are opportunities anyone can take advantage of. All you need to get started in the water profession is an Associate’s Degree from your local community college and a certification in one of the water professions.

Water careers provide an incredible opportunity for individuals who enjoy working with their hands, working outdoors and working as part of a larger team. Many people who enter this professional take great pride in what they do and love what they do. Study hard, work hard and you too can join the profession.

Water careers offer great salaries and benefits; a positive work-life balance; job stability through any economy; and you’re doing a great thing for your community – protecting the supply of clean, healthy water.

“Water professionals must take the workforce shortage seriously and reach out to the next generation. We need more water professionals and fast,” said Debi.

If you want to dip your toe into California water jobs  – check out CAWaterInterns.org. Another great way to learn about the water profession is to tour your city’s water or wastewater facilities and ask lots of questions. Let us know you’re interested in a career and ask to speak to a Supervisor or Manager who can tell you more about their career path and how to get started.

Many of California’s Community Colleges offer degree programs in water sciences so you can get going quickly on your water career pathway. To locate community college programs in the Bay Area visit www.baywork.org/careers/job-training-maps/find-jobs.

California water and wastewater agencies are welcome to post internships, apprenticeships and operator-in-training opportunities for free on the website. Visit CAWaterInterns.org and click “Post an Internship.” Agencies and non-profits can also help spread the word by joining the Work for Water Coalition. Contact Alec Mackie at CWEA for details, 510.382.7800 x114 or amackie@cwea.org.

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