February 13, 2018
Prestonsburg City’s Utilities Commission creates new apprenticeship program
Kentucky Press News Service
Prestonsburg – Labor Cabinet Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes joined officials from Prestonsburg City’s Utilities Commission and Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg to announce the creation of a new apprenticeship program.
The three-year registered apprenticeship specializes in the occupations of water treatment plant and wastewater treatment operators. Apprentices will receive 2,000 on-the-job and 144 classroom training hours per year and will earn a nationally recognized journeyman certificate upon completion of the program.
“The Labor Cabinet is thrilled to register this innovative apprenticeship program today, and it’s encouraging to see the city of Prestonsburg take this step in order to strengthen its utilities for generations to come,” Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey said in a statement. “My hope is that more cities throughout the Commonwealth will emulate the unique partnership that exists between Prestonsburg and Big Sandy CTC in order to tackle today’s important workforce challenges.”
Since 1956, Prestonsburg City’s Utilities Commission has extended, improved, and maintained the waterworks, sewer system, and natural gas distribution operations for the city of Prestonsburg. The commission is a regional provider of utility services with approximately 9,000 retail water customers, nearly 3,000 retail wastewater customers, and approximately 1,100 gas customers, a news release said.
“The current workforce of certified operators is an aging one that will most likely face critical shortages of certified operators in the future,” said Prestonsburg City’s Utilities Commission Superintendent and CEO Turner E. Campbell. “This is why today’s announcement is so important for us. This program will shorten the time it takes to become a certified water or wastewater treatment operator while giving utility entities an opportunity to replace retiring operators more quickly. Today’s announcement is a win for the citizens of Prestonsburg and the long-term outlook of our workforce, and we look forward to being a true partner in this program with Big Sandy Community and Technical College.”
“Big Sandy Community & Technical College is proud to enter into an agreement with Prestonsburg Utilities for an apprenticeship program related to water plant training,” Big Sandy CTC President and CEO Sherry Zylka said. “We are working together to develop the skills needed to create a pipeline of new workers in the future. It’s a win-win situation.”
The ‘Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.’ initiative signals Kentucky’s recommitment of new energy and resources toward strengthening apprenticeships across Kentucky. Since November of last year, over 1,000 new apprentices statewide have been registered, bringing the total number of registered apprentices to 3,088 in 206 programs throughout Kentucky.
State Sen. Johnny Turner and state Rep. Larry Brown, both of Prestonsburg, also offered praise.
“This apprenticeship program is a positive step toward providing another tool to prepare and strengthen the workforce,” said Sen. Turner. “I look forward to the implementation of this inventive partnership and its success.”
“This partnership is exactly what Prestonsburg and the Floyd County area need,” said Rep. Brown. “This vital partnership will give future Kentucky workers an advantage in the job market as they will be equipped with prior work experience to go along with their college education.”
For more information on Registered Apprenticeships, visit www.KentuckyApprenticeship.com.