EBMUD and Laney College train new workforce

The East Bay Municipal Utility District, facing a sharp decline in its plumbing ranks and forecasting a third of its plumber workforce will retire over the next five years, has joined with Laney College in a unique effort to provide needed skills to people seeking entry into the trade.

The Waterways Plumber Training Program is designed to orient students to plumber work. The Plumber Training Program strengthens math and critical thinking skills, plus provides hands-on training to teach students basic skills they need to compete for water distribution jobs.

EBMUD and Laney College reached out throughout local communities to invite wide participation in the program. By providing this new training, the program creates opportunities

for some who have not entered these types of positions in significant numbers in the past. There were 198 applicants for the program, and after screening and interviews, 31 were selected for training.

“The District is seeing less awareness of work opportunities in the trades, and less vocational education available to students,” says Affirmative Action Officer Elaine Lew-Smith. “EBMUD wanted to reach out in a new way, making these positions known to a wider community. By offering training that mends a skills gap, new hires enter the District better prepared for work.”

Twenty-eight enthusiastic, dedicated students will graduate from the first Plumber Training Program this month. The celebration will be on Friday, December 17, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at EBMUD offices at 375 Eleventh Street in Oakland.

“This training effort was made even more valuable by the major outreach to potential students in the greater Oakland area, which helps ensure a diverse District work force,” says William B. Patterson, EBMUD Board of Directors.