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Akron recruits apprentices for its massive sewer overhaul
Pre-apprentice outreach is tonight at East Community Learning Center

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M.L. Schultze
Overflows were a design in sewer systems until the mid 1930s.
Courtesy of WKSU, Mark Urycki
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Akron will continue scouting tonight for city residents who want work on a $1.4 billion sewer overhaul. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.


LISTEN: Sewer recruiting

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Like nearly 800 other older cities, Akron has a sewer problem. It has what are called combined overflows – designed so a heavy rain flushes storm water into sewage and pushes it all out into nearby rivers and lakes.

The city has embarked on a fix that’s also designed to help some of the city’s 16,000 unemployed people find jobs.

About a third of the workers on the project -- to start -- must be city residents.  Assistant Service Director Phil Montgomery says it’s a matter of fairness.

Tonight’s session will be at the East Community Learning Center at 80 Brittain Road, from 5:30 to 7:30.

The unions who will be there are:
  • Tri-County Building and Construction Trades Council
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 348
  • Laborers' International Union of North America Local 894
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 285
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 306
  • Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association Local 109
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 219
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18 

“If the people of Akron, residents of Akron, are paying for these substantial infrastructure projects -- which are the largest in the city’s history – then our people should benefit from the employment on this.”

But Montgomery also acknowledges that contractors may have problems finding enough skilled workers. So the city is holding outreach sessions to recruit residents into apprenticeship programs. The first such meeting drew about 250 people. This one has about 150 registered.

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