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New Apprenticeship Program

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.


This 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,” said Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “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.


“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.”


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