WVWD Director Presents at Inaugural Apprenticeship Connection Summit

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Date: Dec 06 , 2023
Category: Press Release

WVWD Director Presents at Inaugural Apprenticeship Connection Summit

Channing Hawkins joins distinguished panel to discuss apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities

RIALTO, Calif. – West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board Director Channing Hawkins recently joined the Mount San Jacinto College (MSJC) Career Education Department for their inaugural Apprenticeship Connection Summit that brought together local leaders and focused discussion on trade programs and the future of workforce in the Inland Empire.

Speaking on the obstacles that the water industry faces, including an aging workforce and lack of diversity in the trade sector, Director Hawkins advocated for local electeds and other community leaders to support work-based learning through policy changes.  

“It was an honor to use my platform to advocate for opportunities in work-based learning and apprenticeship fields for underrepresented individuals in the Inland Empire,” said Director Hawkins. “The Apprenticeship Connection Summit helps lend a voice to the real issues that our industries face. I call on my friends in positions of leadership to begin advocating for policies that support students, especially women, who are interested in water sector and other trade jobs.”    

Director Hawkins, in partnership with surrounding water agencies founded IEWorks, a regional program dedicated to strengthening the water/wastewater workforce in the Inland Empire by creating equitable pathways to water/wastewater careers and aspires to train and employ future water professionals.

“Director Hawkins and West Valley Water District staff have been crucial advocates for the IEWorks program,” said Scott Goodell, JVS Bay Area's IEWorks Program Manager“. Apprenticeships are pivotal in developing a skilled workforce in the water industry, bridging the gap between education and industry requirements. Through structured training programs, apprentices gain hands-on experience while learning from industry professionals, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary skills to tackle the challenges faced within the sector.”

Since the beginning of the program, WVWD has hosted six interns, two of which have been hired full time at the District in the Operations department. WVWD is now reviewing applications for 3 additional intern positions through the IEWorks program.

Director Hawkins was joined onstage by Stephanie Adams, the Deputy Director of the Riverside County Workforce Development Board; Tiffany Baker, the Founder of the Empowerment Center; and Natalie Weaver, Director of Partnerships and Programs for LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network in the inaugural Apprenticeship Connection Summit.

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The West Valley Water District has proudly served the Southern California communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Jurupa Valley since 1952. Through name changes and consolidation, the mission has always remained the same: to provide customers with safe, high quality, and reliable water service at a reasonable rate and in a sustainable manner. The District provides water for about 98,000 customers and is overseen by a five-member, publicly elected Board of Directors.

IEWorks is dedicated to strengthening the water/wastewater workforce in the Inland Empire. IEWorks partners with JVS Bay Area and BAYWORK to leverage their successes and best practices.

The IEWorks Program is supported by Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) through the California Workforce Development Board in coordination with the Employment Development Department as part of a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) – Stabilization Fund – Reimagine Workforce Preparation grant with funding totaling $1,074,400 as part of a DOE award totaling $14,400,000. The JVS program’s total award is $1,864,400 with 58% financed by DOE and 42% financed from non-federal sources.


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