Tennessee Association of Utility District Announces Partnership to Create State’s First Water Utility Apprenticeship Program

Tennessee Association of Utility District Announces Partnership to Create State’s First Water Utility Apprenticeship Program

(L-R) Bell Buckle Mayor, Ronnie Lockey, and TAUD Apprentice Austin Haithcote signing employer and apprenticeship agreements.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (November 2, 2020) – Officials with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) have announced a partnership with the Bell Buckle Water & Wastewater System to create the first apprenticeship program at a water/wastewater utility in Tennessee.

The Town of Bell Buckle and TAUD formally signed the apprentice agreement in September making the Bell Buckle Water & Wastewater System the first utility in the state to have an apprentice in a water/wastewater systems operations specialist apprenticeship program. 

The program is administered by TAUD, a utility association that provides a variety of technical support and services to water, wastewater, and gas utilities across the state, and the National Rural Water Association’s Apprenticeship Program. 

The program is designed to address the need for certified water and wastewater facility operators in rural Tennessee communities.  Additionally, the TAUD Apprenticeship Program strives to bring awareness of careers in the water industry and good stewardship of our water resources to the youth of Tennessee.   

The leadership of the town of Bell Buckle approved Austin Haithcote to begin the 2-year program designed to prepare Haithcote for certification in Wastewater Systems Operations Specialist.  This program will combine on-the-job-training with related technical instruction and coursework. 

(L-R) are TAUD Workforce Development Coordinator, Kevin Byrd and Austin Haithcote at agreement signing.

Haithcote will gain knowledge and experience in all areas related to the day-to-day operation of a wastewater facility while working under the supervision of the facility operator and the facility supervisor.  He will complete the program with several certifications and experience that will make him an asset to Bell Buckle and ensure the continued integrity of the wastewater facility.

About TAUD The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts is the state’s primary source for training, technical assistance, and advocacy for more than 400 water, wastewater, and natural gas utility members. For more information about TAUD, visit www.taud.org or follow on Facebook (Tennessee Association of Utility Districts) and Instagram @taudwater.