SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission celebrated the future generation of water sector leaders Wednesday morning.

This was the first year the Water and Sewer Commission held its pipeline program, giving local high school students the chance to learn about the water sector through a hands-on internship. Over an eight-week paid learning program, 12 Springfield public school students were given a steady stream of a knowledge on the water sector.

This pipeline program addresses the high demand for younger staff members within drinking water and waste water utility companies.

Josh Schimmel, Executive Director of the Springfield Water & Sewer Commission, told 22News, “There’s an absolute need in the water sector, really fulfilling careers.”

Interns rotated in departments, covering roles in engineering, IT, wastewater, drinking water operations and more. Several interns say that being a part of this pipeline program has made them start considering a career in the water sector.

“I would definitely consider a job, it’s kind of changed my perspective on some things. So I was thinking maybe after I get out of high school, I could come here and maybe work at the lab at west parish,” said intern Iliana Rubet.

“I kind of got a little bit of pride into it now because now every time I look at a house, I kind of know what’s going on and I know how clean the water is, seeing the process myself, so I take pride into that,” said intern Robert Rivera.

Wednesday’s event allowed for these interns to network and hear from current water professionals as they continue in their education or embark on a water-related career.