Category: Faculty

James Lick High School Chemistry Water Challenge

During the 2016-2017 school year, James Lick High School from East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) took the water challenge into their own hands. In the larger intra-district water challenge, Water Career Pathways (WCP) sponsored approximately four hundred students from four different high schools, including James Lick, from two different school districts in a scholarship competition. The competition engaged students in 4-8 week projects addressing water issues the industry faces today.

After their classes had already participated in the larger intra-district water challenge through WCP, James Lick was thirsty for more! They decided to further hone their skills by holding a chemistry water challenge between classes. The WCP curriculum uses student-led Project-based Learning (PBL) whereby classes break into smaller groups to devise a solution to a real-world problem. James Lick riffed on WCP’s model and had classes work together as teams. Each class worked as a group to design, build, test and report.

At the end of their project, classes were pitted against one another in a competition for bragging rights. Judges were selected from District administrators, WCP Staff, and industry. The students gave their presentations and were judged on a rubric scale ensuring each project met the standards. Winning teams were selected, and the braggadocio began. It is dedicated educators like Sheila Lacanaria and Gabriela Huynh who understand the power of Project Based Learning in the classroom and, eventually, in the launch of their students into meaningful careers. These are just two of the fantastic educators are working with the WCP to bring water and wastewater industries career pathways to high school students as a true career destination.

Water and Wastewater Career Pathways: Connecting People to Water Industry Jobs in the Bay Area

Bay Area Community College Consortium Members,

The San Francisco Bay Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE) and the Deputy Sector Navigator for Agriculture, Water and Environmental Technologies (AGWET) for the Bay Area Community Colleges worked with BAYWORK and Jewish Vocational Services to survey water and wastewater agencies and utilities in six Bay Area counties. 43 out of the 77 agencies and utilities that were identified by BAYWORK in the six-county region responded to the survey.

This new report, titled Water and Wastewater Career Pathways: Connecting People to Water Industry Jobs in the Bay Area identifies the workforce needs of employers related to nine mission-critical occupations. The report is concerned with the technical-level segment of the workforce, also called the ‘skilled trades’ or ‘mission critical’ careers, which are closely aligned with community college education programs.

Download the report at:
In addition, you can access links to the occupational profiles for the most mission critical positions – Electronic Maintenance Tech/Instrument Tech, Mechanic/Machinist, and Electrician.
This information is also posted at


David Esmaili, DSN for Agriculture, Water and Environmental Technologies (AWET)
John Carrese, San Francisco Bay Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research

Forecasting High Growth/Emerging Industries and Workforce Trends
for Community Colleges

2017 Teacher Externships

Water Career Pathways (WCP) consortium has proudly sponsored 27 high school teachers that spent one week within the water and wastewater industries through job shadowing externships.  The teachers were placed with our industry partners San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the City of San Jose during this summer’s school vacation period.  Teachers worked directly with industry folks to generate ideas to develop and create lesson plans that bring real world problem solving and skills generation into the classrooms.  Students can relate to the curriculum designed as it is tangible from a real-world scenario.  Students can then begin to picture themselves in those careers or similar aiding in the passion for learning and vision for a clear future.

An externship is a vehicle by which educators are directly exposed to the day to day problem solving and skill sets that an industry position needs.  These externships are essentially mini internships for educators.  Having this direct knowledge of industry and producing lessons from it; create a relatable project, based on real-world scenarios.

Teachers are working feverishly to create meaningful and interactive projects for students to gain real world skills and realize the potential for themselves.  When students finish one of these lesson plans, they have gained the knowledge of the material as well as the confidence and understanding of how it applies to the real world.  The more students can relate specific knowledge to the real world, the more relevant that knowledge is to them.  As Project Based Learning (PBL) is being adopted along with Work Based Learning (WBL, ie. Internships); the gap between traditional education and workforce hire-ability shrinks.  Studies show that a student is more likely to enter an industry after having had an internship during their educational years.

Thanks to the WCP consortium, its educational, non-profit and industry partners.  All of these great efforts wouldn’t be possible without their dedication and collaboration in the vision of a clear career pathway into the water and wastewater industries.  Thanks to these efforts students will follow into the footsteps of our current water and wastewater industry heroes. They will ensure that future generations have clean and safe drinking water along with safe disposal, sanitation and reuse of our wastewater.


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Teacher Externships

Community Benefits News: School’s IN for Summer!

By Kory Loucks-Powell, Baywork

The last week in July, SFPUC staff from across the agency helped coordinate a week-long on-site learning experience (i.e. “externship”) for a very enthusiastic and highly engaged group of high school science teachers. This SFPUC community benefits project was made possible through a partnership with:

  • BAYWORK, a regional collaborative of water and wastewater industry employers focused on workforce development, staff training, and candidate development (
  • Water Career Pathways Consortium, a grant-funded effort to raise awareness about careers in the water and wastewater industry (; and
  • IgnitEd, a nonprofit organization focused on transforming STEM education – i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. (

The six participating teachers spent the week touring six SFPUC facilities in five days learning about SFPUC services, operations, and related careers. By the end of the week, the teachers had already begun devising curriculum that would incorporate their newfound understanding, knowledge, and appreciation for SFPUC and the fascinating world of water and wastewater science into their classrooms this fall.


“I learned that the employees at the SFPUC love what they do. It is really exciting from an educator’s perspective.” Ava Chiao, a biology teacher at Independence High School and the East Side Unified High School District Water Career Pathways Grant Coordinator, who helped plan and run the event.

“It was a great experience for both the teachers and staff, I think the teachers developed some amazing ideas to bring back to their students.” Community Benefits Workforce Development Manager, Steven Currie.

Over 35 SFPUC staff from six SFPUC facilities contributed to the teachers’ experiences including engineers, machinists, water and wastewater treatment operators, customer service representatives, sewer cleaning crews, managers, and students with Project Pull, as well as interns, to get a comprehensive picture of what skills are needed to do the work that they do.

Special thanks to all the SFPUC staff and interns who contributed to this project including:

  • Wastewater Enterprise: Darrell Andrews, Steve Ardrey, Jose Banaria, Desmond Barca, Catherine Curtis, Brenda Donald, Tony Flores, John Hanson, Lewis Harrison, Charles V. Johnson, Domenec Jolis, Laurie Kum, Ken Lee, Diane McHenry, Mark Middleton, Mike Patolo, Polly Perkins, Jonathan Smith, Daniel Whitlock
  • Water Enterprise: Rohit Advani, John Buchner, Jonathan Chow, Ed Forner, Paul Gambon, Don Lampe, Kory Loucks-Powell, John Mallia, Jordi Vasquez, Pete Woolery
  • Power Enterprise: Mike Totah
  • Business Services: Glorina Crisostomo
  • Infrastructure: Daniel Alvarado, Angelo Chan, Ivy Fine, Jesus Gonzales Teena Redhorse, Daniel Sanchez, Victor Shih, Laura Wen
  • External Affairs: Precious Amaechi, Steven Currie, Stephanie Dam, DiAngelo Gleaves, Nathalie Guillen, John Hanson, Mutheu Kivuvani, Esa Medina-Kim, Fatir Muhammad, Kelly Omran, Curtis Rollins, Victor Qiu, Hannah Wendlandt, Iyabo Williams

NOTICE: We want your input! The SFPUC is proud to be the first public utility in the nation to adopt Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies. We’re conducting a survey to learn about staff perceptions of the SPFUC’s efforts to communicate and share news about the work we’re doing (like this teacher externship program) to benefit the communities in which the agency operates. The survey results will be used to improve how we communicate with diverse communities moving forward. Your responses will be strictly confidential and anonymous. For more info about this survey contact Rahel Marsie-Hazan at

Take the survey here:

2016 Water Challenge

West Valley College President Bradley Davis speaks to the local high school students participating in the first annual Water Career Pathways Water Challenge on April 29th.

More event photos and video will be coming soon!