Thirty students showed off the new Kilgore College Electric Power Technology (KCEPT) training grounds May 10 after Dr. Brenda Kays officially cut the ribbon to open the new facility in Kilgore.
The ribbon-cutting preluded a lineman rodeo featuring graduation candidates for the 20th class to complete the certificate program.
Skills demonstrated at the rodeo included pole climbing, hurt-man rescue and insulator changing exercises.
Also, the Danny Belcher “Walking the Wood” trophy was awarded to the most improved pole climber.
Other awards given were “Outstanding Student,” based on class grades and field competencies and “Most Supportive Teammate,” selected by class vote.
This was the first class to use the new training field, formerly located at Rusk County Electric Cooperative in Henderson.
Located at 2317 CR 174 East in Kilgore, the new training field boasts four acres and more than 30 training poles with transformers and equipment.
“With the new training field, we are able to offer various levels of training simultaneously to both new students and continued training for the power company personnel in a more real-world environment that meets or exceeds the requirements by electric utility companies,” said Robert Horn, KC workforce-development specialist.
“The overall size of the area along with continued support from local electric cooperatives will put the field on the map as one of the top training facilities in the nation.”
Graduation was held the same day in Dodson Auditorium where students were awarded a KCEPT Certificate of Completion.
For more information on the program, visit www.kilgore.edu/ept.
VIEW PHOTOS OF THE EVENT by Jamie Maldonado/KC
Graduation candidates, listed by hometown:
- Alba, TX: Keith Johnson
- Big Sandy, TX: Randall Wise
- Blossom, TX: Cole Wilkins
- Brookston, TX: Jessup Crutchfield
- Canton, TX: Chad Bouren and Jordan Thompson
- Corrigan, TX: Fabian Rojo
- Crockett, TX: Joseph Smoldas
- Daingerfield, TX: Justin Johnson
- De Kalb, TX: Wyatt LaVergne
- Elkhart, TX: Jonathan White
- Forney, TX: John Bailey
- Gilmer, TX: Ty Quinn
- Gladewater, TX: Gabriel Norman
- Huntington, TX: Dakota Emerson and Zachary Shipley
- Jefferson, TX: Nathan Gibbons
- Kilgore, TX: Brad Greener
- Lufkin, TX: Joseph Heckendorn, Garrett Innerarity and Wessley Stewart
- Mount Pleasant, TX: Jeremy Grissom, Kevin Flores, Fernando Garcia, Jimmy Hernandez, Noe Hernandez, Mario Resendiz, Patrick Runion and Luis Sanchez
- Rusk, TX: Steven Torres
About the program:
The program is a structured curriculum beginning with basic electricity – covering everything surrounding the electric utility core business from generation, transmission and distribution.
It ends with specialized hands-on training with regulators and transformers.
Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter into the utility business with a sound foundation that will lead to a successful career as journeyman lineman.
With a large number of projected employee retirements within the next five to seven years, statewide electric distribution companies, municipalities and utility companies are expecting a large shortage of workers.
Graduates can earn starting salaries of $18-22 per hour.
The program is part of the Workforce-Development department at KC in the Public Services and Industrial Technologies division.
Dean of Public Services and Industrial Technologies at KC is D’Wayne Shaw.
Back In the early 2000's a group of safety professionals, operational personnel and general managers from various Texas electric cooperatives met to discuss the major issues facing the electric utility industry. One of the major issues facing the cooperatives was the fast-paced loss of a highly trained workforce due to retirements.
It was predicted that the utilities field was going to lose 30,000 to 50,000 employees within the next 10 years, and it did not have the trained employees to recover.
The group met with various third-party training organizations and learning institutions to address concerns and look for answers to the severe problems facing the electric utility business.
The group met with KC Workforce Development personnel and an alliance was formed with the establishment of the KCEPT Oversight Advisory Committee to assure the needs of the electric cooperatives were being met. The objective of the committee was to establish a training curriculum that meets the cooperatives’ direct needs with safety being the main focus.
The training then created a 10-week program for the training of new employees to fill the void in the loss of a highly trained professional craftsmen.
The KCEPT program began in 2008 and has since graduated more than 250 students representing five states.
The committee continues to monitor and upgrade the training program with KC administering the program.