Alaska Job Corps Water/Wastewater Treatment students and alumni prove their skills at lab competition
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Alaska Job Corps Water/Wastewater Treatment students and alumni prove their skills at lab competition

City of Palmer Lab Work Competition

When the City of Palmer’s Water/Wastewater Treatment Division held their first annual laboratory testing competition on Nov. 9, Alaska Job Corps Center students and alumni competed against each other—and all excelled.

The competition included three Alaska Job Corps alumni and three current students and consisted of a battery of tests to see who could conduct their lab skills with the most accuracy. The contest included chemical and biochemical tests that assessed how much oxygen would be consumed when incubated for a period of time and the total suspended solids in wastewater.

Alycia Anderson, Utilities Foreman at the City of Palmer’s Water/Wastewater Treatment Division started the competition as a way to use their laboratory kits to test the skills of both employees and students.

Tomas Sarabia, an Alaska Job Corps Water/Wastewater Treatment alumnus, won first place for the precision and accuracy of his test results. Andrew Arnold, a current Job Corps student, took second place, and Sydney Egbert, also a current student, took third.

“The competition was a good way to showcase the skills I learned in class and from my Work Based Learning experience with the City of Palmer,” said Arnold.
According to Greg Howard, the Alaska Job Corps Water/Wastewater Treatment trade instructor, the competition helped students practice proper sampling and laboratory procedures. He added that the tests also emphasized the importance of paying attention to detail and following direction.
Anderson says that the competition was successful and she hopes to continue to hold the competition in future years.

“We got to test our own procedures, while also testing everyone’s skills,” said Anderson. “It really was a win-win situation.”

According to Malyn Smith, Alaska Job Corps Center Director, the Center’s long-standing partnership with the City of Palmer is also a win-win situation for both the Center and the City. Many students go on to work at the City of Palmer, either as students in the Alaska Job Corps Center’s Work Based Learning program, or as employees after they graduate.

“These kinds of events highlight the skills gained by our students during their training at Alaska Job Corps,” said Smith. “We are proud to provide such excellent employees to the City of Palmer, and we are looking forward to continuing to do so.”

The Alaska Job Corps Center is a federally funded career training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by Chugach Educational Services, Inc. The Center is committed to providing the highest quality programs for young adults by offering instructions in academics, trades and life skills through innovative methods that respond to the unique individual and group needs of today’s youth.

Story by Carin Meyer, BCL. Photo courtesy of Alycia Anderson, City of Palmer.

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