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Pathway Focus of the Month: Environmental Technology


Potential Career: Water Quality Professional

Water Quality Professionals treat water so that it is safe to drink and it is safe to return to the environment. They play a large role in the survival of our race, as well as the wellbeing of our environment. Water Quality Professionals use a variety of instruments to sample and test water quality. They also make minor repairs to pumps, valves, and other equipment, using hand and power tools. Water Quality Professionals increasingly use computers to help monitor the equipment and to store data. They also write reports and make process control decisions with the aid of computers. When a problem occurs, operators may use their computer to find out the cause and how to solve it.

Sometimes these operators must work under emergency conditions. For example, a heavy rain may cause large amounts of wastewater to flow into sewers and exceed the plant's capacity. Emergencies can also be caused by conditions in the plant, such as a chlorine gas leak. In these cases, operators use special safety equipment and procedures to protect the public health as well as the plant. They may work under extreme pressure to correct the problem quickly.

The specific duties depend on the type and size of the plant. In smaller plants, one operator may control all the machinery, run tests, keep records, and do repairs. In larger plants with many employees, operators may control only one process. The staff may also include chemists, engineers, lab technicians, and mechanics. (Adapted from MassCIS)

Job Outlook: At the moment, there are relatively few openings in this field: only about 50 openings a year. However, several factors still make this a “Hot Job”:

Opportunities for water treatment plant operators should be good. While this occupation has a low turnover rate, it also has a low number of applicants for jobs. Most of the existing workforce entered the field in the 1960’s when this field first started. Thus, qualified applicants should have good job prospects.

There are even more opportunities in management positions in this field.

These jobs will not move offshore and are recession proof. Water Quality Professionals generally have steady employment. This is because their services are needed regardless of the state of the economy.

As the population increases, so will the demand for water. Many cities are responding to this demand by building more treatment plants. In addition, many manufacturers are beginning to treat wastewater before it leaves their plants. Both of these factors should increase the demand for operators. Students can broaden their opportunities by looking at the related umbrella category of “Environmental Science and Protection Technicians—including Health.”

For More Information: Try the New England Interstate Water Pollution Water Control Commission. The State’s version is the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association. There are larger companies who employ and then hire out technicians for contract work; one local example is Woodard and Curran. Their website provides students with a sense of local opportunities: Woodard and Curran.

About BCC’s Programming: As Tom Bienkiewicz from the MA Department of Environmental says, “An Associate’s Degree allows you to put more tools in your toolbox,” making you more qualified for more opportunities in the field. At BCC, students in the Environmental Technology Degree Program consider issues of safe land use, water resources and hazardous waste management. They prepare for entry-level positions in the rapidly expanding environ-tech industry with an in-depth review of the regulatory process.

Hint for Success: Focus on required math courses when taking your free Tech Prep BCC courses; this will help you complete the math sequence sooner and free up time for this challenging program. Skills learned in Math, Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Technology for Engineers, and Intro to the Environment are applied in later courses. Because this program is challenging, you should limit your outside responsibilities.



A New High School with College mixed in

(New York Times) A school that officials are billing as a kind of hybrid between a high school and a community college is set to open in Brooklyn this fall. At the five-year secondary school, called the City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, graduating students would receive both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. The school will blend a curriculum focused on career and technical education with advanced courses in subjects like computer systems and architectural technology at theNew York City College of Technology. The new school is long overdue, said the city schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein; currently, 11 city schools allow high school students to earn college credit at CUNY before they graduate.

City Polytechnic, in Downtown Brooklyn, will be the first city high school to allow students to take college-level courses in professional areas like information technology and construction management. Students will begin taking college material in their third year at City Polytechnic, and attend classes at the College of Technology in later years. 

Under a data-sharing agreement that began in August, the Department of Education has provided CUNY with course, grade and testing data for graduates of its schools, and CUNY has provided information to the city on how its graduates are faring in college.

But even after enrolling in college, many public school graduates require remedial instruction in reading, writing and math. In 2002, 82 percent of public school graduates at CUNY community colleges required such courses; in 2008, 74 percent did. In an interview, Mr. Klein said education officials were concerned that so many students must relearn material from high school (at the college level). But he said the city has renewed its efforts to establish higher standards, for instance, by requiring rigorous Regents diplomas for all students. “We still need to make sure all our kids are college ready,” he said. “That’s what raising standards is about.”

Go to the New York Times to see the entire article.

Even in a Recession, Some Companies are Hiring. Help wanted: pharmacists, engineers and nurses. Believe it or not, even some banks are hiring, at least for their technology teams. According to an article from the Associated Press, the economy has created jobs, many of them for highly trained and specialized professionals even while has claimed 4.4 million jobs. More than 2 million jobs openings now exist across a range of industries, according to government data. There is one caveat to this good news: an average of nearly five people are competing for each opening. That's up sharply from a ratio of less than 2-to-1 in December 2007, when the recession was just starting and nearly 4 million openings existed. Go to MSNBC for the full story.

Young and Old Are Facing Off for Jobs. An article in the New York Times describes the current battle between old and young for low-wage, entry level jobs, focusing on Ft. Lauderdale, a front line in a generational battle for employment. Older workers are increasingly competing against applicants in their 20s for positions at supermarkets, McDonald’s and dozens of other places, and older workers seem to be winning.

With unemployment at a 26-year high and many older workers chasing entry-level jobs like those they held a half-century ago, 70 has become the new 20, as one economist put it. “The boomers are staying in the system longer, and that’s clogging the system,” said Mason Jackson, president of Workforce One, a federally funded agency that helps Broward County’s unemployed. “Many want to retire, but they can’t.” He characterized the dominant attitude among employers now as: “In with the old and out with the new.” Tensions are rising as each perceives favoritism towards the other. Seniors believe they don’t have a chance against younger and cheaper workers, whereas the younger applicants trying to break into the workforce claim employers prefer those with experienced.

The latest reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the latter view. The number of employed workers ages 16 to 24 has fallen by two million over the last two years, to 18.3 million, while the number of Americans 65 and over who are working has risen by 700,000, to 6 million. The proportion of older Americans who hold jobs has also risen strongly — 16 percent of Americans 65 and over had jobs last month, up from 11 percent 10 years earlier. But for workers age 16 to 24 the percentage with jobs has fallen to 49 percent, from 59 percent a decade ago. “Younger people are taking an extreme pounding,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. “It’s worrisome because they’re not developing the experience and the soft skills that they’ll need and the nation’s economy will need.” The greatest employment losses, he said, are for young males with little or no college. Many found jobs when the economy was robust, but they were often laid off first in the downturn, and they are having an especially hard time landing jobs now. To read the entire article, go to the New York Times.

Spread the Word to Your Districts: Scientists are Available for Elementary and Middle School Science Classrooms. The RE-SEED (Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments and Demonstrations) is a Northeastern University program that prepares engineers, scientists, and other individuals with science backgrounds to work as volunteers, providing in-classroom support to upper elementary and middle school science teachers with teaching the physical sciences. RE-SEED volunteers work closely with the host science teachers to help them enrich and implement their school curriculum. Overall the volunteers become involved members of their schools' and even their districts' teaching team, sometimes taking part in curriculum adoption decisions. Go to RE-SEED to learn more.

Professional Development Opportunities


Professional Opportunities

Public Hearing for the Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery Commission, Boston, Thursday, April 9, 2009. If you want a say in future legislature concerning Drop Out prevention and recovery, here is your chance. The Commission will be available to hear public comments at the Omni Parker House Hotel, Rooftop Ballroom, 60 School Street, Boston, MA 01983 from 11:00am – 12:30pm. Can’t make it? There are two more hearings, one at the Hoagland Pincus Conference Center in Shrewsbury on April 16th, 2009. They will also accept written comments. Go to the DESE website to look at the proposed legislation and requirements for public comments.

Wilderness First Aid Course, April 18th and 19th, 2009. The Bristol County Natural History Center is hosting SOLO's Wilderness First Aid course. The two-day course will occur on the campus of the Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, MA from 8:00AM to 5:00PM on April 18th and 19th, 2009. (Click here to view the course curriculum.) This training opportunity is open to anyone from high school age and up and participants should be prepared to be outdoors. Course cost is $115 per person. Lunch will be provided. Call for college and continuing education (CEU) credit information. Register SOON as space is limited—only three slots are left! Call Bill at (508) 669-6745, x120 to register or for more information. Attached is a flier that can be printed and posted.

Regional Youth Summit: Ready to Succeed, April 30th, 2009, 2pm – 6pm, ATMC Center, Fall River. This is one of several regional summits focused on youth data related to dropout rates, post-secondary trends, and labor market information. Invited are: school leaders, youth-serving community providers, higher education officials, state agencies, and elected officials. We at the Commonwealth Corporation, in collaboration with several State agencies, are working to ensure that all of our youth are succeeding in school, and in life. Join us to: Learn how young people are faring across the state as researchers from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University present new data that reveal emerging trends on graduation, employment, and overall well-being of teens in our area. Take part in developing new ways to help our youth bridge the worlds of education and work.

These summits are designed to bring together committed partners in business, education, community organizations, and workforce development to create positive futures and upwardly mobile pathways to education and careers for youth so they are ready to succeed. See the flyer or Commonwealth Corporation’s website for more information.

Summer Externships are here! Applications are now available for the Bristol Tech Prep Consortium 2009 Summer Externships. These paid professional development opportunities allow you to experience another industry in order to develop educational materials that improve classroom curriculum or school programming. PDP’s may also be available. Applications are due by April 30th, 2009, to the Bristol Community College Tech Prep Office. For additional information or download the application. If you have any questions, contact Chris Shannon or call (508) 678-2811, x2339.

Student Opportunities


Student Opportunities

ASM Materials Camp New England. Each year we put on a camp for 10th and 11th graders at WPI in Worcester at WPI. The objective of the camp is to introduce the students who attend to Materials Science and Engineering and to give them a chance to talk with students, professors and engineers working in the field. If interested, look at the program flyer or call Executive Committee member, Patrick Hogan at (860) 796-4890.

SMART Start Summer 2009, a program for students. If you are a high school senior going to BCC next Fall (2009), considering an Engineering program and complete a program application, you could participate in the SMART Start Summer program. This FREE program will provide college courses (including fees and textbooks), workshops, hands-on activities and further college and career information. See the program flyer for more information. Applications are due by April 24th, 2009. Questions? Contact Meghan Abella-Bowen, SMART Program Director, (508) 678-2811, x2576.

Resources of the Month


Resources of the Month

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) Teacher Quality Partnership Grants Announcement. The US DOE has just announced a total of $100,000,000 for partnerships interested in improving teacher quality in high-need or rural districts. Program models can include the Pre-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs and/or Teaching Residency programs for those qualified to begin teaching. Projects may also include a school leadership component to train superintendents, principals, early childhood educator program directors and other school leaders in high-need or rural LEAs. Initiatives to support development of digital education content, to improve the quality of pre-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs, and/or to enhance the quality of pre-service training for prospective teachers are also supported. As of yet there is no announced application deadline. If several Bristol Tech Prep Consortium members are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact Chris Shannon. To see the full announcement, go to Grants.gov.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Labor Announces the Launch of Americangreenjobs.net. Announced at the February 4 - 6, 2009, Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington, D.C., this site is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor. The Web site will serve as the central hub for information dissemination and collaboration among individuals and organizations interested in all aspects of green job development and support. The site provides information on policy, partnerships, industries, investment and funding. To view the Web site, visit: Americangreenjobs.net.

Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) Funding Opportunity. The BPC Program aims to significantly increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving post secondary degrees in the computing disciplines, with an emphasis on students from communities with longstanding underrepresentation in computing, such as women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, and Hispanics. The BPC program seeks to engage the computing community to develop and implement innovative methods, frameworks, and strategies to improve recruitment and retention of these students through undergraduate and graduate degrees. Projects that target stages of the academic pipeline from middle school through the early faculty ranks are welcome. All BPC projects must have the potential for widespread impact. Applicants should be able to demonstrate an “Alliance,” a broad coalition of academic institutions of higher learning, secondary (and possibly middle) schools, government, industry, professional societies, and other not-for-profit organizations that design and carry out comprehensive programs addressing underrepresentation in the computing disciplines. For more information, go to the National Science Foundation.

Federal Recovery Dollars Available for At-Risk Summer Programming. The Youth Council, a subcommittee of the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (GNBWIB), is issuing a Request for Response (RFR) for Summer 2009 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth programming.  This is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009. Several CVTE programs have been successful in accessing this funding. Interested applicants may attend an informational session on Tuesday, April 7th, 1:00pm, at Fort Taber Community Center, 950 South Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA. During this meeting, information on the stimulus funding and technical assistance will be made available by representatives from the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board (GNBWIB). Usually, programs include an academic component, work-readiness training and subsidized employment. Copies of the RFR will be available at the information session. You may also download the RFR form from the GNBWIB website. If you are interested but want more information, contact Chris Shannon, or (508) 678-2811, x2339.

Articulation Update


Articulation Update

As we move towards restructuring our website, we will continue to present web page drafts and solicit your input through the Implementation Committee and Advisory Committee meetings. At the State level, the DESE is working to document how each Consortium awards articulated credit; BCC’s one-page submission that captures DESE requested information is included here. One reason the DESE continues to compare different methodologies surrounding articulations is because there has been an increased level of interest in articulations at the State level. The State may try once again to pursue state-wide articulations. The Tech Prep Office will keep you posted if this develops further.

The articulation renewal and update process is progressing well. Your assistance with gathering the curricula in electronic format is especially helpful with the new DESE requirement to update agreements yearly. We are trying to gather the curricula for all renewals and new agreements for this year by the end of June, preferably sooner, so that faculty can review and approval them before the deadline of September 1, 2009. Thank you for your continuing time and effort in the articulation update and renewal process.