Water Resources students start internship program with Valley Waterby Jan Janes on Feb 7, 2020
When was the last time you thought about water? For most people, it’s when something goes dry. Or wrong.
For others, water is the pathway to a lifelong career.
Gavilan College’s Water Resources Management program prepares students for positions in all aspects of water management, from wastewater technology and water treatment to pumping, pollution prevention and laboratory analysis.
Four new students have been accepted into the paid internship program with Santa Clara Valley Water. In the coming months, Kelley Botelho, Thomas George, Sieberia Moreno and Hunter Suarez will learn industry standards at Valley Water as part of their water resources management education.
“Gavilan and Valley Water worked together to develop an internship program for Gavilan students,” said Sherrean Carr, Dean of Career Education. The program was one of several components of a three-year grant. “Gavilan also developed four certificates and degrees in the Water Resources Management Program.”
The first cohort of eight interns completed the program last year. “Students in the pilot internship program said the experience was invaluable and gave real life exposure to their chosen career,” she said.
Gavilan’s water management courses are taught evenings and online, catering to working students’ schedules and moving them through the classes quickly.
“All of the students from the original internship program last year landed positions in the industry,” said Leslie Jordan, lead instructor for the overall program. “Some are at Valley Water, and one is at Aromas Water District.” At a large facility like Valley Water, students can pursue specific interests. At a smaller water district, an employee does everything from meter reading and change-outs to water pumps and distribution.
Jordan, who has been teaching in the program since 2014, has spent her career in water management. First at California American Water and now as water systems operator for MCSI Water Systems Management serving the four-county area, she has worked in lab testing, water/waste water treatment plants and desalination.
“The program has come so far in such a short time,” said Jordan. “Before you step through an employer’s door, you are already certified.” The program offers multiple certificates and degrees. Starting salaries can range from $20-$35 an hour for entry level positions.
Spring 2020 semester, Gavilan’s water resources program is offering three online classes. Advanced classes are also offered for students to achieve higher level certificates.
“Water is a career,” said Jordan. Jobs are available in every department: communications, legal, human resources, accounting and customer service.
“I have students from ages 20 to 70 in my classes,” she said. Some students are just starting out, while others are learning a new career after being ‘retired out’ of their first professions.
Beginning this fall, the program will offer a one-year, online certificate program.
For more information about pursuing water management as a career, check out the Water Resources Management program page, email Jessica Weiler or call (408) 848-4848.