Tag Archives: apprentice

Charlotte Water Employee Spotlight: Sherri Jones and Hayley Williams

Dedication and perseverance are what we’re all about here at Charlotte Water. It’s what we look for when bringing in new talent to join our workforce. Our second group of apprentices exhibited just that before even beginning their work with us.

Charlotte Water’s Apprenticeship Program is a year-long program that, if completed successfully, guarantees a job upon completion. Training Specialists, Sherri Jones and Hayley Williams, began working with the cohort of nine new apprentices who started their program on June 29. Initially, the program was scheduled to begin on April 15, but due to COVID-19, their start date was put on hold. As weeks passed, the focus was on finding a way for the apprentices to start the program. Sherri and Hayley knew how important it was to begin their journey with the program and build that momentum and camaraderie. So when the new start date was finally set, it was encouraging to see that the nine apprentices were still eager and willing to begin the program.

Training Specialists Hayley Williams (left) and Sherri Jones (right)

Due to social distancing measures, the class was split into two groups for the training’s classroom portion, with Sherri and Hayley training the respective groups. Once the classroom training was complete, they moved into the boot camp portion of the training, which will last through September 21. The next step is on-the-job training, which will continue through the remainder of the program.

Apprentices learn about Defensive Driving during their classroom training

Throughout the program, Sherri and Hayley have worn many hats – they are not only trainers, but they have been the most prominent supporters and cheerleaders for the apprentices. They are there from day one to make sure they have all of the resources available to succeed. Sherri and Hayley meet with the apprentices every three months for formal evaluations, ensure they are meeting their benchmarks, and provide them with ongoing support along the way.

Sherri’s philosophy for the program is the “3 R’s” – return on investment, retention, and referrals. The apprenticeship program is not only an excellent opportunity for the apprentices, but also for our existing employees, and even former apprentices. This year, two former apprentices served as back-up trainers, and former apprentices have already been promoted since completing the program. Apprentices will often refer others outside of the organization to apply for jobs at Charlotte Water.

The apprenticeship program provides the cohort with a sense of fellowship and support throughout the year. Even with a 30-year age span among this group, they all have commonalities that help them develop into a team. We are excited to see the great things that this group will accomplish and bring to the future of Charlotte Water.

Learn more about the apprenticeship program here:

Creating Utility Careers: Charlotte Water’s Employment Programs

Charlotte Water’s Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship Program Field Operations Boot Camp

Charlotte Water created the City of Charlotte’s first water/wastewater industry apprenticeship program to increase jobs, training, and opportunities for individuals with multiple ​​employment barriers. The apprenticeship program is custom-designed to help individuals achieve the training and experience needed for a successful career at Charlotte Water.

Our second cohort of nine apprentices started in July. After going through orientation and some soft skills training, they are assigned an area to work, either in wastewater or field operations. This entire cohort was assigned to the field operations division. Field operations is our largest division, and the staff is in charge of maintaining the water and wastewater distribution system. Duties include main extensions, leak repairs, sanitary sewer overflow response and cleanup, wastewater pipe cleaning, maintenance of water monitoring stations, and much more.

Before the apprentices get assigned to a zone and a crew, they must go through a seven-week field operations boot camp where they learn how to do the job efficiently and safely.

Below are some photos taken by some the apprentices during boot camp.

Apprentices learn how to properly install a trench box during a pipe repair.
Apprentice Chevorne Lewis learns how to use a jackhammer to break concrete

Apprentices go through a water main leak simulation.
A tamping machine is a tough machine to handle and requires strength and focus.
Various items that apprentices need to know how to use for a repair or install.
Theirry Capongo experiences what 919 gallons per minute feels like from a flushing hydrant

The great thing about the apprenticeship program is that it doesn’t just benefit the apprentices, it also benefits current staff members. It provides them with additional leadership opportunities as apprentice mentors and trainers. In most cases these staff have then been promoted to new positions afterwards.

Group shot with Charlotte Water field operations crew member and trainer Jontavious Thompson.

You can learn more about the program and how to apply on our website.