Rising Henry County 9th Graders Enjoy Water Works Experience
A few weeks prior to the start of the school year, nearly a dozen rising 9th graders enjoyed a “Water Works” Experience at the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA).
This summer camp introduced these high school students to various job opportunities available to them throughout the local water utility, with a goal of encouraging them to consider career opportunities in the water industry. In addition, the students learned the career benefits of being a water professional, as well as how they might make a difference in the health and safety of their community.
HCWA officials noted that the event was a great way to prepare students for this academic year, by bridging what they were studying in school with the everyday applied engineering and scientific activities of water professionals in departments across the utility.
During their week touring HCWA facilities and meeting Authority personnel, students received an up-close look at the utility’s operations. The week began with a tour and related activities at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center in Locust Grove, followed by visits to the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant and the Indian Creek Water Reclamation Facility.
The week concluded with insights on how to write a resume and complete a job application, as well as mock interviews conducted by HCWA staff and board members. Authority managers and employees also hosted a fashion show, which was a big hit with the students, to demonstrate appropriate professional attire for the workplace. The last day of the weeklong summer camp concluded with lessons on financial planning and leadership.
“The ‘Water Works’ Experience was a great opportunity to educate students on all of the possibilities of working in the water industry – a field most people don’t think to consider,” says Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Communications and Regulatory Coordinator who organized the event. “They learned how water professionals are essential workers who focus on the goal of protecting public health. It opened their eyes to another possible career path for their future.”
HCWA General Manager Tony V. Carnell, P.E., says the “Water Works” Experience is a natural extension of programming the Authority invests in to support Henry County Schools and its students, who are the future leaders of the community. In addition, the targeted age group fits seamlessly and complementary with other HCWA initiatives.
“We target elementary school students with our upcoming Cubihatcha Kids field trips in September, and 11thand 12th grade students with our internship program through our partnership with Southern Crescent Technical College, so we thought middle school students transitioning into high school would be an appropriate grade level of focus. This also is the age when students are beginning to think about applying for part-time jobs and what they may want to do for a living.”
Carnell also notes that the HCWA, as well as other water utilities across the state, are experiencing increased job openings and career opportunities in the water industry because of the growth in Henry County and in Georgia, coupled with a wave of retirements from an aging workforce.
“The overall goal of the ‘Water Works’ Experience is to introduce students to various career opportunities in the water industry, while providing them with skills they can utilize throughout high school and into their adult lives,” adds Carnell. “My desire is for the Authority to continue to invest in our kids as much as we invest in our water and wastewater infrastructure.”
Those participating in the first “Water Works” Experience included: Brielle McNealy, Grant Zeisig, Joshua Lee, Kaden Hyde, Karis Hyde, Messiah Mitchell, Michael Minugh, Omari Drayton, Quintin Phillips, and Tamara Carnell.
“It (the summer camp) was lots of fun,” says Karis Hyde, at the conclusion of the event. “I really enjoyed the visit to the Cubihatcha Center when we were able to ride (the ATV’s) around to see the property. And the water and wastewater plant visits were fun, too, when we were able to see the treatment processes.”
Brielle McNealy added that the “Water Works” Experience had just the right balance of educational experiences and fun activities.
“The tours of the facilities really reiterated what we do in school,” she says. “I enjoyed learning about the treatment processes and the biology involved in them.”
For more information on the “Water Works” Experience, including photo galleries from this year’s summer camp, please visit our website at www.hcwa.com.
Captions for photos (from top to bottom)
Rising 9th graders enjoy their first day of the “Water Works Experience” summer camp with HCWA staff at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center, where they toured and enjoyed activities to introduce them to the work of a naturalist.
Lindsey Sanders (right), HCWA Communications and Environmental Compliance Coordinator, leads an activity to teach summer campers Kaden Hyde (left) and Grant Zeisig (center) about the water treatment and filtration process at the HCWA Tussahaw Plant.
Isaac Banks (center) and Hunter Cook (left) demonstrate their work as sewer line maintenance crews at the HCWA, including how to safely enter and exit a manhole to inspect and repair sewer lines.
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