HCWA Hosts Junior Commissioners at Tussahaw
Prior to start of the school year and the arrival of class assignments and projects, a group of Henry County honor students took a closer look at the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) to learn more about careers in the water industry, especially those in engineering and biochemistry, which could be available to them in the future.
Through an invitation by HCWA Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier, Henry County District IV Commissioner Vivian Thomas and her Junior/Student Commissioners recently visited the award-winning HCWA Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant (the Plant of the Year in Georgia this year) for an introduction to “Career Paths in H2O,” and the degrees and/or professional certifications necessary to pursue them.
“The change that we want to see starts by exposing our talented youth right here in Henry County to opportunities that allow them to reach their fullest potential,” says Mrs. Rozier. “I’m proud to be on the Board of a Water Authority that’s an advocate for cultivating future leaders among our youth.”
Recruitment of future employees and interns was certainly a focus of the HCWA staff who hosted the Junior Commissioners at the Tussahaw Plant. In addition to educating these students about what the Water Authority does for the community and how the utility provides clean, safe drinking water and sewer services for more than 60,000 metered customers, HCWA water professionals offered their own testimonials about what they enjoy about working at the Authority and how their respective career paths unfolded.
To encourage the Junior Commissioners to consider similar opportunities in the water profession, the HCWA staff outlined four job categories at the utility that require a high school diploma, another five types of positions that require state certification, and another 33 current positions at the utility that could be available with a technical degree or upon college graduation.
After a welcoming introduction by HCWA General Manager Lindy Farmer, HCWA Deputy Manager Tony Carnell and Environmental Compliance Coordinator Lindsey Sanders discussed those specific career opportunities in engineering, science, and other fields at the HCWA and within the water profession.
Following lunch, select HCWA employees at the Tussahaw Plant broke down their day-to-day job responsibilities. Water Plant Operator Sheila Kern provided a tour of the Plant for the students, while Water Quality & Compliance Supervisor Bridget Graham and Water Quality & Compliance Lab Technician Tabby Lee went into greater detail about the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curricula used in their respective jobs at the utility.
Students interested in Biology and Chemistry, Environmental Science, Technology and Engineering were able to see how these subjects related to the water and wastewater profession. Many of them also saw the potential for an even more immediate and tangible use of the Authority’s facilities and the expertise of the water professionals they met during the highly interactive, hands-on tour – their own upcoming science projects during this school year.
“We have more than 260 employees at the Authority, not to mention the vendors, contractors and consultants we work with, and many of these local professionals have come through Henry County Schools,” says Farmer. “We recognize that these honor students who visited our Tussahaw Plant recently are the future of our community. It’s never too early to begin recruiting them for rewarding and worthwhile professions that we offer within the water industry.”
The Junior Commissioners consist of high school students from District IV who are participating in the Government And Me Engaged ON Initiative (GAME ON) founded by Commissioner Thomas. The GAME ON Program is aimed to engage Henry County youth in civic involvement and political awareness.
The visit by the Junior Commissioners to the HCWA Tussahaw Plant is one of many activities the students are participating in as a part of the GAME ON Program. In fact, just days prior to taking their Tussahaw Plant Tour while receiving an introduction to the water profession, the Junior Commissioners were working as volunteers at the “4 A Better Me” Expo at J.P. Mosely Park in Stockbridge, which was organized by Commissioner Thomas. The Expo was held to connect citizens with available community resources, while serving as a job fair for government agencies and local businesses to recruit attendees potentially interested in employment opportunities, locally.
Captions for Photos (from top to bottom)
Henry County District 4 Commissioner Vivian Thomas and her Junior/Student Commissioners, upon the invitation of HCWA Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier, enjoyed a recent tour of the award-winning Tussahaw Water Plant and an overview of career paths in the water profession.
HCWA Water Plant Operator Sheila Kern (right) gives the Junior Commissioners a tour of the award-winning Tussahaw Plant, which was selected earlier this year as the Plant of the Year in Georgia.
Henry County District 4 Junior Commissioner Mary Rozier, an honor student at Eagle’s Landing High School, shows how much she loves studying engineering and biochemistry as she tries to wrap her arms around a 48-inch water main inside the HCWA Tussahaw Plant.
HCWA Water Quality & Compliance Lab Technician Tabby Lee (far left) and Water Quality & Compliance Supervisor Bridget Graham (far right) provide the Junior Commissioners with insights on the award-winning Tussahaw Water Quality Laboratory.
HCWA Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier (left) and Henry County District 4 Commissioner Vivian Thomas (right) welcome the Junior Commissioners to the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant for a tour and orientation on “Career Paths in H2O.”
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