Posted By: Christian Jensen V Rural Life Stories,

All community water systems are required to have a certified operator. So when the Rural Water Association of Utah (RWAU) got wind of a system that hasn’t had a certified operator for the past 8 years, the organization jumped into action. This kind of emergency needed a very specific hands-on approach to getting an operator certified. Quick action required an experienced staffer familiar with this kind of situation. No other man was more ready for this job than Jim Shely, a previous full-time employee who now works for RWAU under contract. Jim has years of knowledge and expertise in the field, but not only that, he has experience with on-site tutoring.

On-site tutoring is one of the services which shows how much the RWAU cares about the success of water systems in Rural Utah. This emergency service uses real-life, hands-on water system situations experienced by the operations staff, but is taught in such a way as to help operators navigate the exams. The biggest challenge to taking the state exams is the actual exam itself. Operators may be experienced in the field, but that doesn't always translate to a written exam.

Jim had a few people lined up to train and prepare them for their exams, one of which was for the system without a certified operator. This required a total of two and a half days of water certification tutoring. While there is no guarantee everyone who receives this tutoring will pass, the small group setting significantly increases the odds that operators will pass their exams. For some people, being in a large group can make one feel disconnected from the material. They become distracted and don't take in vital information, or they rely heavily on hands-on experiences to get them through the exams.

Systems that find themselves in need of these personal tutorings can reach out to the RWAU office to see if we can schedule a session. In the past, based on higher funding levels, RWAU was able to offer this on a more regular basis at no cost as was the case with Jim recently. Occasionally, if funding allows, we are still able to on a case-by-case basis, otherwise, travel and time will need to be billed for the service. These tutorings can be held at RWAU or at the system who requested the tutoring. The operators in need, in this instance, chose to meet at the RWAU office.

Jim was able to work with the mentioned operators and help them understand what the exam would be like. He advises operators, “Don’t panic, just think through it” as they take their exams. One thing he has noticed as he trains, is the general fear operators have of the math portions of the exam. “Math is one of the sections that really drives people crazy on the test, even though it is a small portion of the actual test.” While the test does not contain as much math as everyone thinks, don't let it intimidate you. RWAU is here to help operators become certified so they can go out and serve the people of their towns with confidence.

The two and a half days were really worth it to the system with the 8-year gap of not having a certified operator. We are happy to report that the system in question now has a certified operator. Is your system without a certified operator? Call into the RWAU office to get your operators certified ASAP!

For more information about On-Site Training and other RWAU services, call or click below:
Call: 801-756-5123
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