First launched September 20, 2021, the goal of New Jersey American Water’s Water UP! (Water Utility Pipeline) program is to create a career path for qualified individuals from underserved communities in the company’s service areas by helping them identify and pursue utility career opportunities that fit their interests and skills.
The first cohort was held in partnership with Hopeworks and Apex Solutions in 2021. A total of eight participants from the City of Camden learned about various career paths with the potential of career placement (through the regular interview process) after graduating the program. A second cohort took place in 2022, with 13 participants local to the company’s Plainfield Operating Center.
The 2023 Water UP! Program is taking place in partnership with Rowan College of South Jersey with 9 participants local to the company’s new Lawnside Operations Center. This program is being funded by the NJ Governor’s Office of Climate Action, the Green Economy & the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s the Building our Resilient, Inclusive and Diverse Green Economy (BRIDGE) Initiative.
During the program, the participants learn water utility and other essential business training to equip them with the skills needed to successfully enter the industry upon graduation as an Operations Specialist, Utility Mechanic, or another entry-level position.
The curriculum includes:
- Water Systems, Water Treatment and Distribution
- Safety in the field and OSHA 30 Certification
- Touring New Jersey American Water treatment plants and operations centers
- On the job utility training/observation
- Customer Service
- Microsoft office tools
- Teamwork and Leadership
- Financial Literacy and Trade Mathematics
- Resume Writing, Business Etiquette, and Interview Preparation
- Diversity & Inclusion and Ethics
Participants earn a weekly stipend, and they are awarded six college technical elective credits from Rowan College South Jersey after completing the program. They will also attend a Career Fair with American Water recruiters and hiring managers, as well as invited business partners from other utility companies, contractors and suppliers.