By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 12/11/20.
Two years have flown by, and Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Interns Armando Chavez and Eric Medrano are set to graduate with their associate degree in water technology from Doña Ana Community College (DACC). They will go on to become full-time employees at LCU.
Medrano and Chavez came straight from high school to take part in the LCU Internship Program, which allowed them to take classes at DACC and gain hands-on experience at the City’s Utilities Department.
“We got to see behind the scenes and learn about jobs that existed that we had no idea about,” Medrano said. “What I liked about it, is that you’re in control of what you learn and are allowed to take on responsibilities under the guidance of those who do it every day.”
LCU’s Internship Program pays for tuition and other reasonable education-related expenses at DACC, including a monthly stipend and paid on-the-job training to assist with educational and living expenses. Interns work up to 20 hours per week during semesters and 40 hours per week maximum during academic breaks.
Chavez said that the classes complemented his work, and while the math got a little more difficult in the last few classes, there were plenty of opportunities to get help focused on exactly what you needed. He said he’s looking to get his next levels – industry certifications that show his abilities – to grow his career opportunities.
In return for fiscal help with their schooling, interns commit to working four to eight years with the City of Las Cruces as an operator or lab technician after graduation. The intern graduates will work at LCU in the Water, Wastewater, or Regulatory Environmental Services lines of business.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: LCU Interns Armando Chavez and Eric Medrano gained confidence through their internship in different areas that utilities serves, like water and wastewater production.