(ORANGE CO.) - One of the challenges facing today's electric utility industry is preparing the next generation of skilled workers to replace those who will be retiring over the next several years.
22 graduates of the 2013 Hoosier Energy Apprenticeship Training and Safety (HEATS) program have taken a major career step in filling the needs of their cooperatives' workforces.
After four years of study and on-the-job training, 22 graduates were honored as HEATS graduates on Nov. 1 during ceremonies at French Lick.
Twelve apprentices graduated from a meter technician program with another 10 graduates, including Orange County REMC's Michael Newlin, earning certification as Journeymen Linemen.
The HEATS graduation marks the culmination of 576 hours of classroom work and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Graduates also received electric line technician Associate Degrees from Ivy Tech Community College. To earn the Associate's Degree, employees completed additional college level coursework in conjunction with the HEATS program.
Congratulating the 2013 HEATS graduates, Hoosier Energy Manager of Safety and Training Brad Hyland said, "Through the knowledge you have obtained in this program, you are prepared to face the challenges of the electric industry."
The HEATS program began during the 1970s when Hoosier Energy and member cooperatives recognized the need for an apprentice-training program. HEATS standards were put into place and are overseen by a master committee of power network participants. Since 1975, 568 employees have graduated from the program.
Congratulations to Michael Newlin for all of his efforts and hard work he put into these last four years.
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