Internships at the Water Quality Lab
The Utilities Department’s Water Quality Laboratory (WQL) started its internship program in 1995. The program was originally designed to help offset shortages in staffing. Since its inception, the program has been recognized as a Helen Putnam Service Award winner and has grown into an opportunity for many aspiring water quality professionals to get their start in the industry. The program has also been adopted and has served as a template for other utility sections including the Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) operations program.
Over 100 interns have completed the program and subsequently, 85+% of these interns have gone on to work in a water quality related field. The City of San Luis Obispo has hired almost 20 of these program interns to fill temporary and permanent positions. The interns have helped ensure the delivery of quality water during economic downturns and other events that have limited City staffing levels. Locally and across the state, communities have benefited from the addition of qualified and certified water quality professionals to the workforce. In addition, when positions become available, the City has access to a qualified pool of highly trained and certified applicants.
Although it may initially take time and effort to establish an internship program, the rewards to the city, community and the intern far outweigh the initial investment put forth.
If you are interested in becoming an intern at the Water Quality Lab, please contact Anne Fairchild at (805) 781-7242.