Friday, March 6, 2015

Help Wanted!!

Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs are available in Public Works and Utilities across the state of Minnesota.
The public sector is experiencing a significant challenge as "knowledge workers" retire in large numbers and there are few people qualified and ready to take their place. 

Sure, police and fire wear the nifty uniforms and are often easily recognized as "heroes" by the community.  While the "unsung heroes" in Public Works go about their everyday business.  Nearly invisible to the general public, it's usually when the toilet doesn't flush, the water doesn't flow, the lights won't come on, the streets aren't plowed or a disaster strikes, that people realize how much they depend on Public Works each and every day.

Could YOU inspire someone that might be interested in serving the public?  I recently talked with Mike Colestock at the Hennepin Technical College and asked him a few questions about the education program he helped create to give people a "leg up" on the knowledge curve. 

      What’s the history and purpose of the program? 

       The program was started about 7 years ago to prepare people for entry level work in public works agencies.  Unlike law enforcement or firefighting, public works is much less visible to the public.  Many of the services public works personnel perform are “behind the scenes” but absolutely vital to our quality of life.

What is the job market out there for PW workers both entry level and more advanced?

      The next several years are going to see a wave of retirements – not only in public works but in all employment sectors.  This is an excellent time to enter the public works field and, for those already there, to prepare for leadership responsibilities. 

What could they expect for a salary range? 

       Salaries vary by agency and are generally set by collective bargaining agreements.  That said, pay rates are posted with job openings so candidates have that information in advance.

Why would someone want a job in PW? 

       For people who like to solve problems, work independently and who don’t want to be “chained to a desk”, public works offers an excellent career path.  It is also one of those careers where employees know they make a difference; their work has a direct impact on the well-being of those they serve.

What makes it interesting/fun and who is likely to succeed at this work? 

       People who do well in this field are those who enjoy having a new challenge every day, are self-starters and who like to solve problems and think independently.  Public works jobs are interesting because no two days are the same.

What are they going to study?

       Student’s in HTC’s Public Works program will learn about the function of public works agencies in local government, different disciplines inside the profession and job seeking and interviewing skills.  There is also a heavy hands on component featuring practical skills public works employees use every day including small engine repair, HVAC systems, basic plumbing and park maintenance.

Who can they go to for questions? 

      For more information contact Mike Colestock at 952-995-1334 or email him at

By: Cheryl Brennan
Loss Control Field Services Manager