Video: In the Spirt of Giving
As part of the Irving's Strategic plan we are working towards building a relationship with our community, citizens and public schools. We strive for better communication with our citizens, and aim to educate them on the major issues that Irving Water Utilities faces. As a utility we continue to take a more proactive approach in outreach efforts for our citizens.
For the past three years, the Water Utilities Department has been involved in special community-based projects that are intended to assist customers having difficulty complying with city codes. Projects have included anything from painting houses, landscaping, basic residential restoration such as window replacements, caulking, and minor carpentry work. Department staff have volunteered personal time to these projects that resolve the codes violations and any associated fines that might be assessed. Members of several other departments including Streets, Customer Service, Fire, Animal Services, Library and Code Enforcement have also participated with these community assistance efforts. Local vendors such as Home Depot (in north and south Irving), Mammen Glass and Kelly Moore Paint donated the majority of the materials for the repairs while Sonic provided lunch items for volunteers.
Water Utilities and the Irving Independent School District Partnership
Since the Fall of 2008, Water Utilities has provided staff and technical training to support a new program administered through the Irving Independent School District. A one-of-a-kind program in Texas, the goal for this partnership with the school district is to assist high school juniors and seniors to obtain training that qualifies the students to test for basic water and wastewater licensing exams through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality(TCEQ). Based at the Barbara Cardwell Career Preparatory Center, students receive classroom instruction each week regarding topics related to work in the water/wastewater industry. One day each week, city water staff are present in the classroom to supplement the classroom work with "laboratory" exercises that bring their studies to life. Students are provided the opportunity to collect and test water samples, work on fire hydrants and meters, enter confined spaces using specialized safety gear, travel across the city in search of leaks in water lines, visit water and wastewater treatment plants and review every aspect of water utility industry. The result is development of students with real, job focused skill sets that are ready to test for water licenses that is tailor-made and ready for City of Irving jobs. To date, all students that have taken the TCEQ licensing exams after completing the program have received licenses. So, this partnership has produced some really positive results!
Career Days with the IISD
Each year, the Irving Independent School District asks employers across the community to come onto school campuses and into classrooms to share information regarding work requirements and careers. The Irving Water Utilities Department receives between ten and twenty requests each year from schools for career-focused presentations. Because water workers are proud of the integral role they play in maintaining such a critical piece of the city's services, water utilities responds to each request by sending either field or office personnel or both. Fascinating to the school children are the large vehicles and equipment that are required to complete work in the water industry, so numerous trucks and their equipment are booked for "big truck days" when those are scheduled. Staff in the department are eager to share their experience with the children, since so much of what they do remains "underground". These "Career Days" are great opportunities to plant seeds that may grow a very successful water worker some day!
Since 2009, the Water Utilities Department has contracted with Arbor Training and Education, a subcontractor to the Texas Workforce Commission, for free summer interns. These workers are typically between 16 and 23 years of age and are seeking job skills that will enable each to pursue future employment. The city receives willing workers that are eager to learn, but whose wages are paid through State and Federal programs. In addition to the free labor, an added benefit to the city is that students from the Barbara Cardwell School that are enrolled in water classes may quality, and the internships provide great exposure to the water industry. At least four of these students have had the opportunity to complete one or more internships with the city. The internship program is a "win" all the way around with benefits to the interns, the city, the school district and the employment-related programs that fund participation and need employers willing to share time and knowledge.
Public Events and Festivals
Water Utilities staff have much important information to share with the public regarding water supplies, caring for water and conserving this important resource. In order to share these messages, numerous staff, particularly those dedicated to environmental compliance and water conservation, attend public events throughout the year. From Earth Day and Community Fest to Neighborhood Association and PTA meetings, utilities staff work to share important information for the future of water. Staff are glad to share information in a variety of public settings. For more information or to book a utilities staff person, contact (972) 721-2281.
Carter Blood Care
For over twenty years, the Water Utilities Department has been supporting Carter Blood Care and the Irving community through biannual blood drives. Just before the Christmas and Independence Day holidays each year, Carter Blood Care comes to the Valley View Municipal Complex to collect donations from city employees. Each drive typically collects donations from between 40 and 60 persons. A single donation can have a great impact because approximately 50 donations have the potential to save over 150 lives and the water utilities drives typically average three times that many donations over the course of a year. To increase participation, the department has challenged other departments to a contest for the most donations. This competitive challenge began in 1998 and has had a positive impact on collections over the years. In addition to the two drives at the Valley View location, Water Utilities partners with Library Services for a blood drive that is conducted on October 1 each year for "the big read." The collection site is at the Central Library and has the added benefit of offering food donated by local vendors. Overall, the department actively support giving the "gift of life."