The people who protect, treat, test, and ensure delivery of Philadelphia’s top-quality water also live in the city, and we take pride in that at the Philadelphia Water Department.
Our Apprenticeship Program is an important source for recruiting talented local residents interested in the diverse opportunities the field of water offers. By cultivating their passion and offering hands-on learning, we gain passionate and invested employees who can grow to become nationally recognized experts in their fields.
Read about Johanna Lopez-Lacayo, one of our newest Apprentices to officially become a PWD employee below, and learn how you or a hard-working student in your life could participate.
Johanna Lopez-Lacayo: Girls High to Green City
Born in Nicaragua and raised in Philadelphia, Johanna Lopez-Lacayo is blazing the trail for other young women as the first female apprentice to become a full-time PWD employee.
Johanna attended Philadelphia High School for Girls, and credits an AP Environmental Science class with first sparking her interest in a water industry career. Luckily, her city is home to one of the world's most ambitious and celebrated green infrastructure initiatives: Green City, Clean Waters, which completes its first decade this summer.
After researching the Green City, Clean Waters program, Johanna inquired about opportunities with PWD.
She joined the Apprenticeship Program in August of last year and began working in the Utility Plan Review Group. Johanna is now the first female apprentice to promote to a permanent Civil Service title.
While working at PWD with benefits and earning a steady income, she is attending Community College of Philadelphia and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.
When asked what her favorite part of working for PWD is, Johanna points to the strong sense of camaraderie between employees.
“It’s really like a family,” she says. “I wouldn’t trade my team for anything.”
What to Know: PWD Apprenticeship Program
We have used apprentices to fill a variety of positions throughout our 200-plus year history. The current iteration of the PWD Apprenticeship Program started in 2013 when the Department began its partnership with PowerCorpsPHL.
This partnership, which continues to be a dedicated source for cultivating new talent, was initially focused on developing apprentices for full-time positions in the growing field of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) maintenance.
Thanks in part to the Green City, Clean Waters program and the need to comply with state and federal regulations, stormwater management is the fastest-growing career field among our three core services: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater.
The PWD Apprenticeship Program began expanding in 2017 to absorb additional career fields and is continuing to develop new partnerships with area educational institutions.
How to Apply
Apprentices and Interns are a critical part of the Philadelphia Water Department workforce.
To submit your information and apply for an Apprenticeship, fill out the form below.
Questions? Email RecruitPW@Phila.gov
We are especially focused on our growing connection to the School District of Philadelphia. That relationship will be critical to recruiting a new generation of water workers as the industry faces what is often referred to as the "gray tsunami"—a wave of pending retirements across the sector that threatens to deplete decades of institutional knowledge.
The overall intent of the Apprenticeship Program is to engage with local young adults graduating from high school or trade/vocational school; within that effort, PowerCorpsPHL acts as a bridge to disconnected youth and returning residents. Once candidates are identified through our partners, our aim is to develop this local talent through the initial limited-term period of employment at PWD.
During the initial limited-term period, apprentices receive:
- On-the-job training in real-life situations
- One-on-one, personalized mentorship from an experienced employee
- Supplemental classroom training as needed
Through these efforts, successful apprentices will be ready for critical, technical, and upwardly mobile careers with PWD.
Think you want to work in the public water industry?
Info about jobs at the Philadelphia Water Department can be found here: