GLWA Graduates Inaugural Class of Technician Apprentices

The Great Lakes Water Authority achieves its goal of a 100% completion rate, with a 95% full-time job acceptance

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The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) has graduated its first cohort of apprentices from the Authority’s inaugural three-year Electrical Instrumentation Control Technician – Instrumentation (EICT-I) Apprenticeship Program. Of the 20 graduates from the award-winning program, 19 accepted full-time positions with GLWA.

Developed in partnership with Focus: HOPE and Henry Ford College, and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), the apprenticeship program successfully demonstrates a learn-while-you-earn model with on-the-job training and education at no cost to the participants. 

“GLWA created its apprenticeship program to help close the gap in the availability of highly-trained talent to adequately fill skilled technician roles imperative to our core business of water and wastewater treatment,” says Terri Tabor Conerway, chief organizational development officer of GLWA. “It can take a new employee two to three years to learn the competencies needed to successfully fulfill the daily tasks required of a skilled water sector position, so on-the-job training is an essential part of the program.

“GLWA is committed to investing in these areas, as this program is crucial to attracting and maintaining the highly-trained talent the authority needs to provide water of unquestionable quality and safe and sanitary wastewater treatment to the people of southeast Michigan.” 

As part of the program, apprentices worked one-on-one with GLWA journey worker mentors and rotated assignments every six months to gain experience in repairing, testing, calibrating, and installing instruments and control systems, in addition to attending customized courses designed specifically by GLWA journey workers at Henry Ford College. 

Upon graduation, the apprentices had successfully completed the requirements set forth in the USDOL Standards of Apprenticeship, including 5,200 hours of on-the-job learning, meeting all learning competencies. In addition, they completed 575 hours of related educational instruction (32 course credits) at Henry Ford College. The apprentices now hold their USDOL Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship. 

GLWA’s Apprenticeship Program has positively impacted not only those working for the authority, but also the community as a whole. The training it provides continues to set up more people for these essential jobs that are vital to the stability and future of the water sector. The program will continue to drive a diverse pipeline of highly skilled operations-focused workers into GLWA and the community, now and into the future.

GLWA recently hosted a virtual graduation ceremony that included speakers from the USDOL, Focus: HOPE, Henry Ford College, as well as GLWA’s CEO Sue McCormick and team members from the Organizational Development Group. The ceremony included apprentice videos and testimonials celebrating the graduates, which you can view below.

GLWA currently has two additional apprenticeship programs in progress: a three-year Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship launched in January 2019, and a five-year EICT-E (electrician) Apprenticeship launched in February 2020.  

Candidates who are interested in the apprenticeship program can take the first step by contacting GLWA’s business partner, Focus: HOPE, which conducts the pre-apprenticeship training. Anyone interested in employment with GLWA is encouraged to visit the Authority’s website at for available job opportunities.


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