National Apprenticeship Week Spotlight – Paula Jackson
Paula Jackson joined the U.S. Air Force when she was 18 years old, quickly selecting the water resource career field. The Air Force sent her to technical school for 8 weeks, where she learned chemistry, microbiology, water and wastewater treatment processes, among many other subjects pertaining to water. She was in the Air Force for six years, where she worked on multiple different Air Force bases in water and wastewater jobs. During her time in the military, she volunteered to be on the Air Force “Prime Beef” Rapid Civil Engineering Deployment Team, which was deployed to set up bases anywhere in the world.
When her tenure in the Air Force ended, Paula worked as a water and wastewater treatment plant operator in Alaska, Alabama, New Mexico and Vermont. In 2000, she was offered a job with the University of Alaska Southeast after graduating from their Environmental Technology Program as an Assistant Professor. This position took her to 32 Alaskan villages, where she taught operators and worked with water and wastewater systems.
In 2003, she moved back to Vermont to be closer to her family. She worked for the EPA Training and Technical Assistance Program at Vermont Rural Water Association for 10 years and is now the Apprenticeship Program Coordinator at VRWA.