Goal Achieved!

It truly takes a unique team of partners to connect the dots for environmental
workforce development and job training programs to succeed! In an effort to help stem the tide of its retiring workforce, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB)/Veolia North America (Veolia) have begun several initiatives to reach individuals within communities of need and to find future water/wastewater plant operators. One such initiative resulted in a very unique and timely partnership with Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LVI).

LVI, a 501c(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to serving at-risk, underserved, and under-employed young adults, 18-29 years old. Through LVI’s program, participants obtain certifications, knowledge, skills and hands-on experience in the environmental industry. LVI has trained over 400 at-risk young adults since its inception in 2006, with funding primarily from the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and AmeriCorps through The Corps Network.

Near the end of their training, LVI participants participate in internships with local environmental and engineering firms, S&WB or with Veolia. These internships help LVI participants learn more about potential careers within the environmental industry. It also gives potential employers a chance to work with non-traditional future employees and discover their talents and enthusiasm before offering them a job. Granville Guillory has used this opportunity to truly excel.

Granville Guillory came to LVI at 20 years old after several personal hardships and dropping out of college. His Aunt heard about the LVI program and suggested he give it a try.

During his interview with LVI, Mr. Guillory indicated he wanted to work for the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) and follow in his Uncle’s footsteps. According to Granville his uncle had worked at the S&WB for most of his life and he was “set”. Granville was looking for the same type of stability in his life.

On June 21, 2012, LVI, EPA and S&WB held a press conference at the Veolia North America sewage plant in New Orleans, LA to announce the winners of the latest EPA Environmental. Workforce Development and Job Training grant. During the press conference several
students talked about their LVI experiences and Granville discussed his desire to work
for the S&WB. His sincerity and personal enthusiasm earned him a private tour of the
facility after the press conference.

Later that year, eight LVI members participated in an internship at the Veolia facility. Granville continued to impress the Veolia staff with his work ethic, curiosity and natural intuition for this type of work. Finally, his hard work paid off! After the LVI participants completed the Wastewater Operators State Board Exam, Granville and one other student were asked to join Veolia as full-time employees. Now at age 23, Granville is excelling as a State of Louisiana Class III Wastewater Plant Operator and as he puts it “makes as much overtime as he is willing to work and enjoys his days off”. Some of Granville’s duties require him to ensure that furnaces are operating properly. “If things go wrong, it is my responsibility to help make them right before any serious damage to the furnace or an emission violation occurs”, he says.

Because of his performance and interest in furnace operations, during his last personnel review, he was asked if he would be willing to travel overseas to broaden his capabilities. Later this year, Granville will be traveling to Tokyo for six months to learn about a new and more efficient furnace that Veolia is planning to incorporate in their U.S. operations.

Mr. Guillory also takes an active role in mentoring new LVI participants and interns. They are able to see the bigger picture through discussions with him and strive harder to achieve their goals just like Granville did. Through LVI’s EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant, and with the assistance of our partners such as New Orleans S&WB, Veolia and others, we are able to help at-risk young adults develop new career opportunities for themselves and connect the dots to
employment in the environmental industry.

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