The water sector is expected to lose around half of its workforce to retirement over the next decade. Many of these employees have spent most of their careers with the same utility, and they will leave with decades of valuable knowledge.
Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) has dedicated time and resources to develop an efficient training program so apprentices can, through a systematic program of related instruction and on-the-job learning, become well-qualified Water System Operations Specialists.
What is a Water System Operations Specialist?
Water Systems Operations Specialists ensure the quality of water resources and protect public health, providing critical services to their communities. They protect our environment and ensure the health and safety of its citizens by providing access to safe and affordable drinking water.
The Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) Apprenticeship program will be the assurance of health, safety, and uninterrupted service to the communities involved.
What are the Benefits of the Apprenticeship program?
Earn While You Learn: From the first day of work, apprentices receive a paycheck that is guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Apprentices complete a combination of job-related instruction and hands-on training at the job site leading to a nationally recognized credential.
Hands-on career training: Apprentices receive practical on-the-job training resulting in improved skills and competencies.
A career: Once the apprenticeship is complete, workers are on their way to a successful long-term career with a competitive salary with little or no educational debt.
National credential: When an apprentice completes the apprenticeship program, he or she earns a certified credential accepted by industries and employers across the nation.
Who Can Apply?
To be eligible, applicants must:
- be no less than 18 years of age
- have a high school diploma or GED
- be physically capable of performing the essential functions of the apprenticeship program
- pass a drug screening
- pass a background check
- possess a valid Driver’s License
What are the Program Requirements?
Apprentices shall receive on-the-job training and related technical instruction as is necessary to become a qualified Water Systems Operations Specialist versed in the theory and practice of the occupation. The following is a condensed schedule that every apprentice shall follow as closely as conditions will permit.
- 4,000 hours of On-the-Job Training (approximately 2 years)
- Tools, Equipment and Workplace Safety
- Vehicles and Specialized Equipment
- System Operations & Maintenance
- Quality Control
- Logistics, Reports, and Supervision
288 hours of Related Technical Instruction over a 2-year period
Year 1 Curriculum
- Water Specialist Basic Math
- Introduction to Small Water Systems
- Water Specialist
- Advanced Math
- Basic Distribution
- Basic Treatment
- Intermediate Distribution
- Distribution Systems
- Drinking-Water Rules & Regulations
Year 2 Curriculum
- Financial Sustainability & Capacity Development
- Managerial Sustainability & Capacity Development
- Small Water Systems
- Distribution Systems
- Intermediate Treatment
- Advanced Treatment
- Advanced Distribution
Are you interested as an employer or water operator?
To start the application process, please call our office at (501) 676-2255 or email MarshaS@arwa.net for more information.