Students enrolled in the Water Systems Technology (WST) program at College of the Canyons will now have even more opportunities to begin a career in the state’s all important water industry, thanks to a new partnership and internship agreement with the Newhall County Water District (NCWD).
Housed at the college’s Canyon Country campus, the WST program is designed to prepare students for careers in the fields of drinking water treatment and distribution processes.
Students who complete the college’s WST program are often employed as water distribution operators, treatment plant operators, service representatives, wastewater collection workers and/or wastewater treatment operators.
“Water technology is one of those potential career fields that people typically don’t think about,” said Regina Blasberg, Chair of Engineering Technologies at the college. “Many of the state’s water agencies are facing the potential loss of between 20 and 60 percent of their current staff due to retirement in the next five to 10 years — so employment opportunities should remain high.”
Upon completion of the college’s 21-unit WST program, and an additional certification from the California Department of Public Health, students are eligible to begin seeking employment throughout the industry.
However, many employers are now requiring prior work or internship experience as a condition of employment.
“Despite the number of available job openings throughout the state it’s still somewhat difficult for our water students to secure a position without having documented ‘hands-on’ experience,” said Kristin Houser, dean of career technical education (CTE) at the college. “This new internship agreement with Newhall County Water District will provide that experience and help our students quickly find employment after graduation.”
To be eligible for the NCWD internship program students must have an internship application on file with the college’s Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) department, be currently enrolled in the college’s WST certificate program, and have completed at least one course with a grade of B or better.
Consisting of 60 hours of combined training and coursework, the internship also provides students with a minimum of eight hours of safety training along with hands-on experience working alongside members of the NCWD’s construction, maintenance, water quality, production and customer service crews.
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with College of the Canyons to offer students the opportunity to gain real world experience working alongside our water experts,” said Steve Cole, NCWD general manager and chair of the college’s Water Technology Advisory Committee. “In a community with ever-changing and challenging water related issues, NCWD and COC feel this program will be a win-win for everyone involved.”
More about Internship Opportunities at COC
The college’s Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) program can help students achieve their career goals faster and more efficiently through a variety of pre-established internship programs available to COC students.
With more than 200 local internships currently available, students are encouraged to explore and apply for these opportunities, in order to gain the type of hands-on work experience that will better position them to gain employment in their chosen career field.
Students selected for an internship will enroll in the one unit course CWE-188, and work a minimum of 60 hours on an assigned workplace project, which can be included on a professional resume.
“When coupled with the strong academic and career technical education programs available at COC, an internship can give students the edge over other applicants as they apply for a job upon graduation,” said Gina Bogna, director of internships and job development at the college. “Students can also use the internship experience to ‘test drive’ a potential career, before making a long term academic commitment to a major they are unsure of.
“With summer right around the corner,” added Bogna, “now is the perfect time to start looking for an internship that’s right for you.”