Lake Region High School’s new Water Academy is accepting applications for the 2020-21 school year.
“This is the first academy of its kind within the school district. It’s a very exciting opportunity for rising juniors who are interested in water, and the career opportunities that exist with local water utilities,” said Principal MaryJo Costine.
Created through a partnership between the school, local water municipalities, and the PCPS’ Workforce Education department, the Water Academy has space for 50 rising juniors and seniors. Students from throughout the district are invited to apply. To be considered, students must have met their English Language Arts and Algebra 1 graduation requirements and have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.
For the 2020-21 school year, the Water Academy will be offered through both the district’s Campus Learning and Campus eSchool formats. Read more about the district’s learning format options at polkschoolsfl.com/reopening.
Students accepted to the Water Academy will learn about hydrology, geological principles of water resources, wetlands management, stormwater systems, environmental water resources, equipment and facilities maintenance, and scientific and research concepts through face-to-face and virtual activities.
The Water Academy will prepare students to earn the State of Florida’s Water and Wastewater Operator’s Certification.
“Working with our local water utilities, we learned that they have a real need for utility mechanics, electricians, engineers and environmental scientists. The Water Academy will provide our students with a strong foundation that will prepare them to pursue these careers in the future,” said Steven Cochran, PCPS’ senior director of workforce education.
“These career paths offer competitive salaries, and the chance for our graduates to make meaningful contributions in solving global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change and environmental stability.”
The City of Lakeland is one of the industry partners involved in the Water Academy, along with the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. City of Lakeland Water Utilities Director Bill Anderson said he looks forward to seeing the academy grow, and eventually hiring students as interns – and one day, employees.
“Like many organizations, the City of Lakeland’s water utility is observing a shift in the workforce with the retirement of many long-time team members. Succession planning has become a critical strategy moving forward, and the identification and development of talent pools is a key piece of that strategy,” Anderson said.
“A regional water academy is an ideal talent pool incubator, and we recognize the potential of academy graduates supporting both Lakeland’s water and wastewater operations, as well as regional operations. Furthermore, we envision a water academy supporting the future needs of utility mechanics, electricians, engineering and environmental science as well.”
For more information on Lake Region High’s Water Academy, please call the school at 863-297-3099.