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McDONOUGH – The Henry County Water Authority has partnered with Southern Crescent Technical College to bring water professionals into the field.

The move comes as a response to reports heard from HCWA deputy manager Tony Carnell about a void in talent in the water industry caused by the increase in retirements of experienced water professionals, according to a release from the authority.

The partnership is working to generate interest in SCTC’s Water Quality Technician Technical Certificate Program, which will include four courses totaling 12 credit hours.

The program will require two semesters to complete, at a cost of $100 per credit hour.

According to a release from HCWA, Carnell said the authority will offer incentives for its employees, in addition to paid internships for other young students to enter the water profession. SCTC will provide the necessary technical training through the Water Quality Technician Certificate Program.

The program’s courses are among the college’s class schedule being offered in the spring semester, with a minimum of 10 students required to enroll for classes in January.

“We are encouraging our employees and recruiting students to consider Certification as a Water Quality Technician,” Carnell said in a release. “The good news is we are very confident that we can place these students in good paying jobs that offer a bright future in the industry. The concern is that we’ll have position needs in our workforce that may otherwise go unfilled.”

The courses being offered at SCTC include ESCI 1010, Occupational Safety and Health Regulations; ESCI 1120, Introduction to Water Treatment Processes; ESCI 1140, Wastewater Treatment; and ESCI 1260, Water Supply.

After the four courses are completed, the program then prepares students to take the state’s exam necessary to obtain the Water and Wastewater Treatment Operators Class III License. After passing the exam, students will need three months of work and on-the-job training for each certification, at a water or wastewater treatment facility such as those operated by the HCWA. At that time, they are able to apply for their Class III License.

Carnell said the HCWA also hopes to cross-train its own workforce, encouraging those water professionals currently working in areas outside of Plant Operations to become certified with the entry-level Class III License.

“We are excited about the potential of a mutually beneficial partnership with Southern Crescent Technical College, to advance the objectives of a Water Quality Technician Technical Certificate Program,” said Lindy Farmer, HCWA general manager, in a release. “We are like other water and sewer utilities across the state in that we want to cultivate talented young water professionals to fill the void in our workforce we’re expecting as older employees reach retirement age.”

For more information, contact Belinda Bentoski, program coordinator, at (770) 914-4431 or belinda.bentoski@sctech.edu.

Government Reporter

A native of Hampton, Georgia, Joe Adgie has worked for the Valdosta Daily Times, Clayton News, Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen. Adgie joined the Henry Herald in April 2018.

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