The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) recognized its first graduate with a Certificate of Completion from U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship at its annual conference on September 9, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee with more than 2,000 in attendance.
Nick Hines from Indiana became the first Water System Operations Specialist to graduate from the NRWA Apprenticeship Program through the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water (AIRW) registered apprenticeship program.
This two-year training program was developed in response to the industry’s need to train the next generation of skilled workers and standardize training across the Nation.
“Rural Water has been training the workforce for over 40 years,” NRWA Deputy CEO Matt Holmes said. “This apprenticeship program is at the core values of Rural Water to look ahead and plan for tomorrow by providing real-world, practical solutions that ensure safe, affordable drinking water and efficient wastewater management to our communities.”
The NRWA Apprenticeship Program currently has more than 20 participating states and nine active programs. “These programs are forging workforce development pathways and fostering relationships in high schools, colleges, technical schools and government agencies,” Holmes continued.
Connie Stevens, AIRW Executive Director, took the stage first to welcome Nick Hines for recognition and was accompanied by Shannan Walton, NRWA Apprenticeship Program Manager; Todd Gardner, BBP Water Corporation CEO; and Kelly Gardner, AIRW Assistant Executive Director.
“Our main goal is to do the best job we can to instill the knowledge and confidence in these apprentices to provide the best quality water for our communities in the future,” Stevens stated.
“The Water Apprenticeship program broadened my horizon exponentially. It gave me a well-rounded education,” Hines remarked during his certificate acceptance. “The program has made this job a career for me.”
Alliance of Indiana Rural Water Association currently has 14 apprentices in its registered apprenticeship program and has been a leader in setting the standard nationally for other states to follow.
“Water is the best. You can live without power, you can live without gas, you can even live without Wi-Fi. Water is the one thing you cannot live without. That makes me so passionate about what I do even more,” Hines finished his remarks with a resounding standing ovation.