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Record Drought Puts New Focus On GateWay Community College’s Water Program

Record Drought Puts New Focus On GateWay Community College’s Water Program

As record drought conditions worsen for the state of Arizona and much of the southwestern United States, a new urgency has been placed on finding ways to preserve one of our most valuable natural resources. But for GateWay Community College, the news comes as no surprise.

"We've always had a huge demand from our municipal partners to provide them with the next generation of skilled workers in water resources technology and water and wastewater treatment," said Dr. Craig Urbanski, division chair for the Center of Industrial Technology. "Protecting our water resources here in Arizona has always been important, but this drought has shown how important of a role our technicians play for the water security of the future." 

GateWay Community College is the only college in Arizona that offers specialized degrees and certificates in water and wastewater treatment and water resources technologies. In addition, the college opened a dedicated training facility in partnership with the City of Surprise in 2016 for water resources technologies.

"We've definitely seen renewed interest in many of our water resources and environmental science technology programs," said Dr. Steve Meneses, Dean of Business, Technology, and Trades at the college. "Our students are some of the most well-qualified technicians upon completing our programs. Plus, we give students the flexibility to pursue their bachelor's degree at one of our university transfer partners or gain quick entry into the workforce."

With many degrees and certificates ranking in a recent top 10 of in-demand green jobs, GateWay hopes that it can expand its environmental and green programs even further. The college recently announced the launch of the Center for Industrial Technology, bringing together five of the college's existing programs: Industrial Design Technology, Automotive, HVAC, Water Resources and Environmental Science Technology, and Water and Wastewater Treatment. The new effort renovates some of the college's existing facilities and allows for better access to the existing state-of-the-art labs as the college plays a critical role in addressing the nearly 4 million skilled-trade job vacancies across the country.

"We started as a workforce development college," said Urbanski. "Our state needs to have a well-qualified and educated workforce in these important fields, which GateWay has provided for over 50 years."

The new Center for Industrial Technology will be hosting information sessions throughout the summer to help students get matched to the right program. With tuition starting at just $85 per credit hour for in-state residents, GateWay has offered its students an accessible education while ensuring they are not burdened with overwhelming student debt after graduation.

To request more information about the water resources and environmental science technology programs at GateWay, please visit gatewaycc.edu/cit or call 602-286-8000 to enroll.

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