City Leaders Celebrate 2018 YH20 Water Mentoring Program Graduates
Friday Nov 30th, 2018
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young joined Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) and its partners, the Chesapeake Water Environment Association (CWEA) and Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), to celebrate the 4th class of YH2O water mentoring program graduates. The event was held on Friday, Nov. 30 at City Hall.
Nine (9) young adults have successfully completed 6 months of training to prepare for entry-level jobs in the water industry. This ground-breaking 4-year-old City program, formerly the Youth Water Mentoring Program, has led to employment in entry level jobs for over 50 residents, ages 18 through 24. The program has become a national model for other cities and public and private utilities. Several utilities have inquired about the program. Several have already adopted the program in Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina.
DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., said, “The program meets a need in the water industry as seasoned workers leave or retire. YH2O creates a pipeline of future workers who have the skills the industry needs.” He added that having other cities adopt the program will help secure the future of water industry jobs, and at the same time provide young adults with a skill. The program recently received the Water Environment Foundation’s (WEF) Public Communication and Outreach Program award.
Participants all receive full-time jobs, some at DPW and others at public or private companies. We are now seeing YH2O participants from prior years who are continuing to advance their training and education, some have already received promotions and others have gained additional industry certifications.
“YH2O is a great example of how an industry-focused, public-private partnership can result in impressive employment results,” MOED Director Jason Perkins-Cohen said. “We are proud that our City’s investment in preparing young adults for jobs and careers is paying off, and that other municipalities around the country also recognize the value of creating opportunities for our younger workforce.”
Launched with its first mentoring class in the 2015, the YH20 program provides on-the-job-training and support from water industry veterans. Program training includes opportunities to explore careers in the water industry; worksite tours, job shadowing and connection with a career coach/mentor. YH2O graduates get a summer job at DPW and opportunities to interview for full-time, entry-level positions with DPW or private companies. To date, the program has graduated over 50 young men and women and they have all gone on to be hired in the industry. This year’s grads will work for DPW.