Daní started in the Water Environmental Tech (WET) program in 2017 while working part-time in the evenings as a server at a local restaurant, working many late nights and making server’s wages (less than minimum wage plus tips). If business was slow, not much money was made. As a stay-at-home mother of 2 children under five years old and on state assistance, she knew she wanted to be able to provide more for them than she currently could. She believed she had the ability to learn a trade in order to be more financially stable and independent, and knew she didn’t want to rely on others to get by.
Daní researched programs on the DMACC website and ultimately chose the program because the career was something that interested her and had a lot of potential for high earnings. She chose DMACC because the school was close to home and very affordable for her financial circumstances. The state/industry scholarships and financial aid that were offered to her helped to pay most of her tuition and book costs.
Because the program is offered in a small cohort, she was able to get to know her instructors and the advisors/navigators very well. She shared, “The faculty and staff in the WET program helped me out immensely. They were available when I needed it. Many of the staff felt more like a family to me and still do ‘til this day with communication even after graduation.”
Daní earned certificates in Water Treatment/Distribution, Wastewater Treatment/Collections Systems Technology, a Diploma in Water and Wastewater Technology, and her Associate’s degree in Water Environmental Technology. Without the degree, she states things would have been very different for her, “I would still be trying to maintain a low paying job and struggling to make ends meet if not for these achievements.”
Because of this program and the connections made with Des Moines Water Works, the City of Altoona, and the City of Polk City through internship opportunities, there are many career advancement opportunities in her future. “I hope to be able to gain a higher income every year by working for the city, getting higher grades in state licenses, and in 5 years I hope to be able to take the position as a Supervisor in the public works department, or maybe even the Director one day.”