Census data from the past few years indicates that of the 29 million people in Texas, around 7 million speak Spanish at home. Since almost 30% of Texans speak Spanish as a first language, there is a high need for vocational training in Spanish. To satisfy this need, the Infrastructure Safety Training Institute (ITSI) at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) will offer an online Basic Water Works Operations course in Spanish from October 12 to 14 of this year. Although initially created in 2013, the class has not been offered recently. This renewed programming will allow many more people to receive adequate training to keep drinking water and the environment safe.
Steve Ash, Training Coordinator for the TEEX Water and Wastewater Program at ITSI, hopes this is a first step in creating a more extensive water program in Spanish, not only for Texans, but also for residents of other states and countries. Ash, who also serves as co-chair of TEEX’s Respect, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice, describes the importance of this course, saying, “This is a topic that is today. This is a topic that is now. My question would be, why would we not do this? 29% of people in Texas speak Spanish in their houses every day. We represent the state of Texas – ALL of the state of Texas. We should want to do that.”
Basic Water Works Operations is the course required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to receive an entry-level vocational license to operate drinking water systems. Additionally, the course counts toward TCEQ’s requirement that Texas operators participate in 30 hours of continuing education every three years. For more information about TEEX’s Water and Wastewater Program, visit https://teex.org/program/water-and-wastewater/.