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Detroit – The Great Lakes Water Authority is starting a nearly 4-year apprenticeship to train maintenance technicians.

It hopes to hire up to 20 workers who make it through the program. Classes are scheduled to start in January.

On-the-job training and education will be provided. Apprentices completing the program will receive guaranteed employment within the water system in an area where they received training.

The authority says it’s committed to launching a new U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program each year until the system’s remaining needs are met to ensure a trained and sustainable workforce. Last year, a 3-year apprenticeship was started to train workers for jobs as electrical instrumentation control technicians.

The authority provides water and wastewater services to 127 communities in southeastern Michigan, including Detroit.

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