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BSC and ND Rural Water Systems Association partner to offer apprenticeship program

Published: Mar 03 2021
Water and wastewater systems operations specialists are vital to communities for access to clean drinking water. Over the next decade, the water sector is expected to lose 30 to 50 percent of the workforce to retirement. In response to this workforce need, Bismarck State College (BSC) and the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association (NDRWSA) have partnered to offer a Water Systems Operations Specialist Apprenticeship online program. 
 
“Knowledgeable employees are critical to water utilities. This apprenticeship program provides a structured path to begin a successful career in the industry,” says Erik Volk, NDRWSA executive director.
 
The two-year curriculum is comprised of non-credit courses from BSC in addition to on-the-job training, related instruction and paid work experience. Furthermore, the program has a flexible schedule, with online courses offered in a format that allows individuals to maintain a full-time work schedule and complete courses at the same time. There is also an opportunity to have the cost of the program reimbursed by the NDRWSA upon completion.
 
“The curriculum is a self-paced, block-style outline with lectures, interactive animations and self-checks. The courses are designed to assist new operators with licensing exams and possible career advancement,” says BSC National Energy Center of Excellence Department Chair Kyren Miller.
 
This apprenticeship program, approved by the National Rural Water Association, is ideal for someone newly hired or currently working in the water industry and courses count towards required professional development hours. Participants earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs) from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality. The number of credits is determined by the courses taken.
 
To learn more about the program, course descriptions, costs and registration information visit bismarckstate.edu/NRWAapprenticeship.