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CSO Jobs Training Programs Begins to Create Local Jobs

Mayor Jim Suttle announced today that a pilot job training program for the Combined Sewer Overflow (“CSO”) project has begun to yield results. The first class of CSO trainees have completed half their training and are set to graduate from the program in next month.



The CSO job training program is a partnership between the City of Omaha, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Community College, and the Nebraska Chapter of the Utility Contractors Association. These efforts are aimed at developing a workforce prepared to fill local job demands created by CSO construction efforts over the next 15 years.

CSO!, Clean Solutions for Omaha, is a 15-year program to reduce waste water overflows into the Missouri River and Papio Creek. The City of Omaha is facing an unfunded federal mandate of approximately $1.66 billion for the CSO project. This project will include extensive construction projects across Omaha east of 72nd Street. Although the CSO project is being mandated by the federal government there are real opportunities for new, local, long-term jobs.

A collaboration of organizations has come together to provide the opportunity for job training specifically targeted for the anticipated local jobs of this program. The City of Omaha and the Mayor’s Office initiated the collaboration in order to enhance local jobs and to meet the labor needs of the CSO program. The Greater Omaha Chamber through its workforce development efforts assisted with bringing contractors, education and financial resources together with their workforce development partnership.

Metropolitan Community College developed the curriculum with input from local contractors, recruited students, managed the screening and enrollment. The Nebraska Chapter of the Utility Contractors Association through the leadership of Kara Habrock at Roloff Construction and Tom Crockett at Hawkins Construction helped determine job demand, curriculum needs, plan field trips, and coordinate with area contractors.

As a result of these collaborative efforts a pilot job training program was created. Recruitment, which began in October 2010, led 80 individuals to complete applications. The inaugural class of trainees is on course to complete the program in February 2011.

The CSO program will assist these individuals with job placement following their successful graduation. Additional training classes will be recruited and trained to fill the needs of contractors and utilities in the Omaha Metro Area who will be constructing the sewers, treatment facilities, and tunnel. The timing and size of the classes will depend on the needs of local contractors.

“I am proud to work with our collaborative partners to make the CSO job training program possible,” said Mayor Suttle. “This program will ensure that the City of Omaha makes the best of the unfunded federal mandate by helping develop a workforce that is specifically trained to work on the CSO project and ensuring that any additional jobs go to local workers.”

-end- metroMAGAZINE



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