“Federal funding will help build new training program for water careers,” Daily Herald

News & Events | May 7th, 2024

Daily Herald: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates on Thursday announced $225,000 in federal funding allocated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to Current for the development of a pilot, entry-level job training program centered on wastewater-based epidemiology.

The funding will help build a new training program and accelerate the development of inclusive workforce pathways in water careers.

It is built on a collaborative effort between Current, Discovery Partners Institute and the Chicago Department of Public Health to track pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 through community wastewater sampling.

“This Congressionally Directed Spending will support an important new entry point to a world of fulfilling careers that improve the way we manage water and public health,” said Alaina Harkness, executive director of Current.

This program will create opportunities for hands-on experience with wastewater sampling, specimen management, field work and community engagement for individuals from historically disinvested communities and those underrepresented in water-related industries in Illinois.

Current, with partners from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Cara Collective, City Colleges of Chicago, and Discovery Partners Institute, also will map related career pathways based on the skills gained through the training program so participants can use their experience to prepare for good-paying jobs and careers in water-related fields.

Current is a Chicago-based nonprofit water innovation hub working to accelerate adoption of innovative water technologies and solve pressing water challenges. It was founded in Chicago in 2016 in partnership with the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, World Business Chicago and the region’s research universities.

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