How San Francisco’s Sewer Upgrade Projects Helped Build a Local Resident’s Career

Meet Delijah Harrell, a San Francisco native currently working on the SFPUC’s Mariposa Pump Station Improvements Project. The project includes demolition of the existing pump station and construction of a new facility at the same location to accommodate full build out of the Mission Bay community, the new Warriors Arena and planned population growth in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. Harrell is a father of four who has a passion for producing music.

Delijah Harrell, a San Francisco native, working on SFPUC’s Mariposa Pump Station Improvements Project.

A self-proclaimed “veteran” of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD) CityBuild Program, a local program that provides comprehensive pre-apprenticeship, construction administration training, and job placement to San Francisco residents, Harrell has been working on construction projects around the City for the past 12 years.

“As far as their training, everything is good,” Harrell says. “We did a lot of things with job development, programs, applications, interviews — how to do all that.” Intent on turning these construction jobs into a career, he began taking classes in blueprint reading and general construction at City College’s Evans Street Campus in Bayview-Hunters Point. 

Mariposa Pump Station Improvements Project in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

The contractor, Western Water, brought Harrell on to the Mariposa Pump Station Improvements Project to help the contractor meet its local workforce participation requirement. The SFPUC and OEWD work with the community to hire residents to work on SFPUC projects that are underway throughout the City.

Delijah Harrell working at the Mariposa Pump Station project site.

“My advice to a friend or family member is if this is your passion – go for it. I can help you start. We can get you in a union and we can get you going,” Harrell says with excitement. “You have to be absolutely dedicated because you’re expected to work, you’re expected to show up, you’re expected to be on time, and you’re expected to be professional.”

With the Sewer System Improvement Program’s infrastructure investments, the SFPUC has an opportunity to support San Francisco’s ongoing economic vitality by strengthening its neighborhoods, businesses, and workforce.

Visit the SFPUC’s workforce development page to learn more about how the SFPUC is connecting local youth and adults with learning, apprenticeship, job training, employment, and business opportunities.