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Phoenix Graduates First Class of Garbage Truck Driver ApprenticesPhoenix Graduates First Class of Garbage Truck Driver Apprentices<div class="ExternalClass1FF0247FCA364E3F90DF289643E1696F"><p><br></p><table cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:100%;"><p style="text-align:justify;">The first municipal Solid Waste Equipment Operator (SWEO) - garbage truck drivers - apprenticeship program in the nation graduates its inaugural class in Phoenix, Arizona. Seven graduates completed the one-year program that includes on-site equipment training, getting their Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and learning how to provide exceptional customer service.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Rebecca Estrada is one of seven apprentices who just graduated and says she feels like she's breaking barriers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"I'm loving the challenge of driving around a big truck and serving our community. I want to be an inspiration to other women and to my kids that we can do whatever we want to do," Estrada says. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The apprenticeship was created in partnership with LIUNA Local 777, a local union representing SWEOs in the city. The program stresses safety and the importance of what drivers do which is protect public health and the environment by properly disposing of what people throw away.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We cannot imagine a better partner to create jobs, open doors and ensure our community has the best, most talented employees serving them," said LIUNA 777 Organizing and Field Services Coordinator Jennifer Grondahl.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A true entry-level workforce development program, the SWEO apprenticeship seeks to attract a diverse array of individuals including veterans, women in non-traditional roles and others who want to obtain a CDL. The aim is to train apprentices in city policy and safe trash collection practices.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This program is a win-win for all involved as we get a skilled and talented workforce from the graduated class," said Deputy Public Works Director Felipe Moreno.</p><p>The future of the program is bright. The committee received more than 300 applications for the next apprenticeship class. The 2018 SWEO apprenticeship program apprentices start their training March 12 and graduate within a year.<br></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p><br></p></div>3/2/2018 7:00:00 AMMedia Only: Brenda Yanez, 602-501-0620 Customer Service: 602-262-6251