---- — DES MOINES — The Des Moines Area Community (DMACC) Water Environmental Technology (WET) program has seen tremendous growth in its first year as a degree program.
The DMACC WET program started in January 2012 with one student; by the fall of 2013, 30 students enrolled in the program.
“DMACC is meeting an industry demand,” said DMACC Business Resources Project Officer Dennis Hayworth. “Industry leaders asked DMACC to provide training and they helped us develop course curriculum. The collaboration is a success and enrollment is growing.”
Hayworth said the water and wastewater industry needs highly skilled workers because the jobs are becoming more technical and the industry is facing an influx of retirements.
“I get requests every week from employers who are looking for grads,” said DMACC WET Instructor Mark Simms. “There is a need everywhere for clean water.”
A DMACC WET degree prepares students for employment in many areas, including municipal water utilities, municipal wastewater treatment plants, rural water systems, industrial waste treatment facilities and privately owned water/wastewater plants.
Garrett Schissel of Ossian is a DMACC WET program student. Schissel is interning with People Service, a water treatment management company, and says it has been a great experience, one that has already earned him a job offer.
“There is no better feeling than knowing the day you graduate you have a job, a great one at that,” said Schissel.
DMACC President Rob Denson and other committee members recently presented a check for more than $19,000 to the DMACC Foundation to fund WET program student scholarships. The money was raised at the second annual Shrimp and Bingo fundraiser held at the DMACC Ankeny Campus. Like the WET program, the fundraiser is growing. Attendance doubled in the second year to 152. The event is a collaboration between DMACC and several industry groups including Iowa Water Environment Association, Iowa Section of American Water Works Association, Iowa Rural Water Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and Iowa Association of Water Agencies.
“The committee has worked hard to grow this event and had help from our great sponsors,” said Hayworth. “They see the value in supporting the future of this industry.”
The 2014 Shrimp and Bingo fundraiser is scheduled for Aug. 23.