Schools to Offer Operators a Leg Up to Management

In collaboration with Lewis and Clark Community College, the Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has created a new program to train and educate water treatment plant operators, supervisors, and managers.

The new program will combine the water treatment training at ERTC with the business and management classes at Lewis and Clark, to produce a graduate who will possess the skills needed to advance their career to positions such as treatment plant manager and public works director.

Graduates of the program will receive an associate in Applied Science Degree in Environmental Treatment Technologies-Water Treatment from Lewis and Clark and a certificate of completion from ERTC. The program will begin this fall.

Students will receive a combination of classroom, laboratory, and hands-on experience at the training-scale water treatment plants at ERTC along with classes in biology, English, economics, accounting, and business management at Lewis and Clark. Graduates will have the unique combination of business management skills and the ability to become a certified drinking water and wastewater treatment plant operator.

The ERTC portion of the program will consist of two semesters of water and wastewater operations training, followed by a 10-week internship at a water and wastewater treatment plant.

Graduates are eligible to take Illinois and Missouri certification exams to become certified as public drinking water supply operators and wastewater treatment operators. The Lewis and Clark portion of the program will be two semesters long with a number of the classes being offered on-line.

Employment opportunities in this field are good with the American Water Works Association estimating that nearly 50 percent of today's drinking water and wastewater plant operators will retire within the next 5 to 10 years.

The new program offers opportunities for displaced workers who are looking for training and education to help them enter a new career. Lewis and Clark and ERTC have a long history of providing technical training for students who wish to enter the workforce after completing one or two years of training.

The ERTC program began in 1981 and has an excellent placement rate for graduates who are employed in Illinois, Missouri and 15 other states. The traditional one-year program at ERTC will continue to be offered, providing students with two educational and training options.

For more information, contact ERTC at 618.650.2030 or Lewis and Clark Community College at 618.468.4800.