Duncan, Okla. – NRWA and California State University at Sacramento, Office of Water Programs (OWP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on February 26, 2019, recognizing the Office of Water Programs Operator Courses as quality training that may be utilized in the NRWA Apprenticeship Program.
“NRWA recognizes the importance of consistent core training for the overall occupational training combined with the flexibility for the licensing and certification needs of each state,” said Shannan Walton, NRWA Apprenticeship Program Manager. “In order to create uniformity, NRWA wanted curriculum that all 49 State Associations can build upon and develop the next generation of well-qualified water and wastewater operation specialists. We believe that’s what the OWP will do.”
Launched in July 2017, the NRWA Apprenticeship Program now has 17 approved State Association programs and 13 that are in the process of developing an apprenticeship program. The OWP will help State Associations fulfill the NRWA Apprenticeship related instruction requirements by including the OWP in the apprenticeship curriculum.
OWP will provide instructor guide materials to NRWA-verified instructors to educate registered apprentices in a State Association apprenticeship program. The material presented in these guides provides instructors with additional resources for developing class materials and course exams.
Each state association with an apprenticeship program must verify and approve an instructor for that individual to receive the OWP instructor guide materials. Registered apprentices will also be able to purchase training manuals and other supplemental learning resources directly from OWP that help them meet program requirements and get access to current job-related information.
The NRWA Apprenticeship Program, that has two apprenticeship options of water or wastewater operation specialists, requires each apprentice to participate in approximately 288 hours of related instruction that may be delivered in a classroom, through occupational or industrial courses, or by correspondence courses.
“The objective of the NRWA Apprenticeship Program guideline standards is to create skilled, professional utility workers in all phases of the industry,” stated Matt Holmes, NRWA Deputy CEO. “The OWP will enhance our State Association apprenticeship programs to reach this objective and help ensure that safe, affordable drinking water continues to be provided to our small communities.”
The OWP is recognized as one of the leading national training programs for operators and managers of drinking water and wastewater plants and facilities. Over one million operator and manager training manuals have been sold throughout the world and translated into many different languages.
Many in the water industry are familiar with the affordable training materials and programs produced by OWP, which was established by Dr. Ken Kerri over 40 years ago. Dr. Kerri’s main goal was to help operators do their jobs better. OWP training materials are considered a benchmark for water industry operator instructional materials and still known to many as “the Ken Kerri manuals.”
“This agreement is a natural partnership between OWP, as operator training developer, and NRWA and State Associations as training delivery organizations,” said Dr. Ramzi Mahmood, long-time OWP director.
NRWA is also currently working on tracking software and a learning management system that State Associations will be able to access. These additions will help states maintain records and provide more resources as the apprenticeship programs develop further.