MMSD summer interns on Pelagos boat

Workforce Development

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is committed to growing the next generation of water workforce through a variety of career exploration and training opportunities. 

Fresh Coast Works - Career Awareness and Assistance

Regionally, there are approximately 1,400 annual job openings in the water sector. Because the water sector has unique careers, MMSD, with funding from the Department of Labor, is developing career maps and videos of those currently working in the water career. A career navigator at Employ Milwaukee, MMSD’s workforce partner, will help interested career seekers connect to education, training, and employment in the water industry.

Interested career seekers can also participate in a paid work experience. One program by Milwaukee Community Services Corp is a paid work experience focused on land stewardship, green infrastructure installation, and forestry.  The other is On-the-Job Training (OJT), which works with water sector employers who need to train new employees. Please find more information below on additional paid work experiences that MMSD and other partners offer listed below.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the water sector career navigator with Employ Milwaukee. The career navigator will contact you so you can learn more about career opportunities and related training and educational career programs. 

MMSD Internships

MMSD’s internship program has been in existence for over 25 years. Our goal of the MMSD internship program is to grow awareness of opportunities with MMSD and careers in water-related industries. Exposing students to a hands-on learning experience helps inspire and educate students about future water-related careers. 

MMSD’s intern program operates year-round with the majority of students hired for a summer experience. On average, MMSD hires 30 interns and co-op students for a summer term. The summer intern application period opens in January and closes in February each year. Students can expect a paid work experience in areas such as Water Quality Protection, Laboratory Services, Engineering, Construction, and Sustainability.  To complement the hands-on experience, we offer students activities such as a touring Jones Island and South Shore water reclamation facilities, Green Infrastructure tour, Pelagos Boat Tour, attendance at a Commission Meeting as well as an end of the summer gathering. 

Regional Internship in Science & Engineering (RISE) Program

The RISE program, sponsored by MMSD, is a career and professional development program for college engineering students who attended high school or are currently residing in the MMSD service area. The program in partnership with Prism Technical, provides meaningful paid work experiences for students and an opportunity to build long-lasting working relationships between students and MMSD service providers (construction contractors, engineering designers, consultants, and planning firms). This internship exposes students to opportunities and prepares them for increased success in the Greater Milwaukee engineering infrastructure job market. More than 100 local Milwaukee students have landed internships since the RISE program began in 2009. To learn more about the RISE program and how you can apply

Pre-apprenticeship Training and Opportunities

MMSD is committed to developing and aligning skilled workers for our current and anticipated projects. In partnership with Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP)|Building Industry Group & Skilled Trades Employment Program (Big Step), MMSD helps to recruit, train, and place local workers in the construction trades through its pre-apprentice training program. The District also places apprentice utilization requirements on many of its large construction projects to support local apprentices achieve journeyman status. To learn more about the local Milwaukee area pre-apprenticeship program in the construction trades, apply at WRTP Big Step.

Local Workforce Utilization

MMSD is committed to utilizing local workers reflective of the diversity of our service area.  To maximize the economic impact of our annual spending, local workforce requirements are typically placed on all construction bids.  On average, local workers work more than 50% of hours on all MMSD construction projects each year. For information on local Milwaukee jobs in the trades visit Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP)|Building Industry Group & Skilled Trades Employment Program (Big Step).

Fresh Coast Ambassador Program

The Fresh Coast Ambassador Program and the collaboration between Cream City Conservation and several local partners, including the Milwaukee County Parks and MMSD’s Fresh Coast Guardians program, is a great example of a high school work experience on green infrastructure.  Cream City Conservation and local partners connect young people to paid work experiences while providing career planning, support services, and culturally competent, social, and emotional learning to ensure the young person can thrive and grow in the program.

Fresh Coast Ambassador Program
For a summary of MMSD's Workforce Programs.

Milwaukee Water Equity Task Force

The Milwaukee Water Equity Taskforce was convened to explore pathways to a more equitable water future and inclusive workforce in Milwaukee. Its members represent a range of stakeholder interests—utilities, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, workforce development organizations, and educational institutions. The Milwaukee Water Equity Taskforce recommends a call for stronger collaboration among all those in Milwaukee’s water sector and meaningful changes to workplace culture, policies, and practices. The Taskforce believes that advancing these recommendations will help ensure that the economic, environmental, and social benefits resulting from community investments in water are more equitably shared by all. 

Workforce equity requires aligned initiatives and partners to develop a robust talent pipeline from underserved communities. It is critical to increase awareness at the youngest ages through water-related education about how water and wastewater systems play a role in public health and protecting and improving the environment. In so doing we can tell a compelling story about the numerous opportunities for a successful career in the water sector. MMSD is working with a broad array of partners at various levels to spur a more equitable water future for Milwaukee.

“While Milwaukee is a water-centric city, our water workforce does not reflect the diversity of our residents. To build a more diverse workforce we are investing in and partnering with community-based workforce partners and other water sector employers -- there is no such thing as a “go it alone” approach when developing our future workforce.Kevin L. Shafer, P.E. Executive Director – MMSD