September 29th, 2016
Baywork, in partnership with Water Career Pathways, hosted a tour of four Bay Area water/wastewater agencies for local high school and college educators. This Workshop on Wheels allowed educators to experience a showcase of mission-critical careers in the water industry, with the purpose of fostering partnerships in educating the future workforce.
The tour included stops at San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, West Valley Sanitation District, and San Jose Water Company.
Participants received a behind the scenes look at operations at the facilities, with employees in several career paths speaking to the attendees about what they do.
San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility
Wastewater Treatment Operators, Michael Tocalino & Alex Rodriguez, spoke about skills necessary, such as algebra, to become a wastewater treatment operator and how those skills are used in daily operations. Mechanic, Rocky Padilla, covered the process of mechanical repairs and maintenance of equipment.
Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center
Instrument Technician David Wolf, Senior Controls System Technician, detailed the processes of maintaining equipment and managing budgets. Senior Water Treatment Operator, Jacob Spacher, spoke about his responsibilities as the first point of escalation for issues onsite. Jacob also cited the importance of being in charge of your own employability by going above and beyond minimum requirements, by attaining extra certifications or higher level certifications such as the T3/T4/T5.
West Valley Sanitation District
Wastewater Collections Operator Kelvin Hatchett explained the daily duties of the West Valley Sanitation crew, how their work assignments are distributed, and gave a look at some of the equipment used, such as the robot camera that locates blockages and helps crews to maintain pipes.
San Jose Water Company
Engineer, Dámaris Villalobos-Galindo, offered insight into her experience as an engineer at various water facilities, and what engineers can expect to do at these facilities, such as studying conditions of the infrastructure and preparing reports on the priorities of which pipes should be replaced first. Water Distribution Operator, Michael Smallman, spoke about what he enjoys about his job, such as the constant challenges and the need to always learn new skills, and the opportunity to work outside in the Bay Area.