by David Goldstein, Ventura County Public Works Agency, IWMD

Three local events on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week celebrated Public Works Week, raising awareness of the way Public Works are connected to the environment.

Informational and display booths, demonstrations, presentations and hands-on stations in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura highlighted work such as revegetation with native and drought tolerant plants; measuring rain and stream flows; composting with worms; developing solar power; building landscape channels to remove trash and sediment from our watersheds; installing raptor perches and nesting facilities for owls and hawks to help control rodents burrowing into neighboring levees; and installing porous surfaces to filter storm water, capture pollutants, reduce flooding, diminish runoff to the ocean and re-charge underground aquifers with much-needed water.

For school groups on field trips to these events, as well as for other members of the public who attended, learning about the environmental work of public works agencies may also lead to discovery of career options. Those wanting to work in the public interest and help the environment can apply for jobs with public works agencies. Some jurisdictions have their own websites for jobs. For example, Thousand Oaks uses http://www.toaks.org/departments/human-resources/employment.

Others have jurisdiction-specific space on shared websites devoted to similar jobs. For example, the city of Ventura uses https://www.jobaps.com/VEN/sup/images/default.asp, and many jurisdictions list their jobs available under the city or county heading on a “government jobs” website. For example, the Oxnard event publicized https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/cityofoxnard during the Public Works Week event, and the Ventura County Public Works Agency’s event at the County Government Center highlighted https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/ventura for county jobs.

The county and many local cities have special opportunities for students’ summer employment, and these are also accessible through the same websites, usually by typing “student” into the search function.

Those unconcerned about career options still found many ways to connect to public works this week. At a “Pledge to Recycle” booth at the County Government Center event, attendees committed to one of the public works services provided at every curbside. Using markers, stencils, stamps and other art supplies, students on school tours made and signed colorful and creative posters pledging to recycle. Students who participated received a reusable lunch sack or BPA-free reusable water bottle, to further encourage their commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle.

City of Ventura booths at the County of Ventura event provided prizes, along with information about storm-water pollution prevention, household hazardous waste and green business certification. The city also demonstrated the equipment used for fixing potholes.

Public Works connect residents to their communities and accomplish important environmental work.