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CH2M invests in treatment plant workforce with a new internship program in Oregon

CH2M invests in treatment plant workforce with a new internship program in Oregon

October 26, 2017

OMInternshipCH2M is breaking new ground in its internship and scholarship programs for potential operations & maintenance employees. While serving our clients, a new internship/scholarship program in Oregon offers opportunities to future utility professionals, investing in STEM education and identifying strong talent in a competitive marketplace.

This summer, Eric Wood interned at CH2M’s wastewater treatment project in Wilsonville, Oregon. Eric was one of three Clackamas Community College (CCC) interns who received a scholarship for tuition and a grant to learn on the job at one of the Oregon treatment facilities CH2M operates on behalf of its clients (in Wilsonville, Sandy, and Dallas).

“Thanks to the Wilsonville crew for sharing your years of experience and providing an awesome learning experience,” said Wood. “I was treated like a new employee and fellow coworker. Everyone took time to teach the methods and reasons behind the treatment processes. The experience helped me pass my operator-in-training certification for wastewater and collection.”

Although CH2M has had a scholarship program with CCC for several years, this program was the first of its kind, the brainchild of Gary Young. As Western Regional Business Group Manager for CH2M’s OM Services, Gary worked with the college to design an internship program for potential plant operators.

The water environment technology (WET) associate’s degree program at CCC has produced many of CH2M’s treatment operators over the past 40 years.

“I’ve been working with CCC for several years, trying to identify high-performing students so we might offer positions to these students,” said Young. “Each year I meet with the first-year students to explain opportunities in the utility field and share career possibilities with CH2M. At the same time, I mention our scholarship program. As a result, students are now seeking out CH2M as a potential employer. This investment is helping us find future operators and leaders.”

Students studying WET must complete a 120-hour internship at a wastewater treatment facility. Most complete their internships during the school year, managing coursework and 16 hours per week of unpaid on-the-job training.

CH2M is assisting these students by providing scholarships to defray tuition costs, hosting a paid internship at an OM project and potentially offering them positions. The recipients could receive jobs in wastewater or water treatment.

Working with CH2M, CCC instructors select their top students to receive the scholarships, and CH2M works with the students to determine the best internship projects. When Eric Wood worked at the Wilsonville project, he was exposed to many treatment plant facets, including sample collection and analysis, preventative maintenance, equipment repair and special projects.

CH2M’s commitment to STEM education for water and wastewater treatment extends throughout the United States. CH2M provided student internships in San Marcos, Texas and Fayetteville, Arkansas, which led to additional opportunities with the company to work in a laboratory and on energy management plans for various facilities including enrollment in the EPA Rainworks Challenge program (a collaborative effort between the city, CH2M and the University of Arkansas).

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October 2017

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