“This is a great day because FPL is creating jobs today,” said Jose Farinos, Dean of Advanced Technology at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce. “Thanks to this partnership between IRSC and FPL, I’m proud to say that this is one of the best days for me, the day we see our graduates actually move from academia to the real world.”
Last month, 23 highly-skilled graduates of the Power Plant Technology Institute received hard hats and officially became employees of Florida Power & Light Company. The innovative training program is the first step for these students in their quest for a career in the energy sector.
“I always wanted a job where I could work with my hands and continuously learn new things,” said 19 year-old graduate Casey Kraus. “With the Power Plant Technology Program you combine two years of education with on-the-job training as apprentices after you graduate. Then, once you receive your journeyman's card, you continue to learn the rest of your career.”
The partnership with FPL, IRSC and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, helps address a critical need for nuclear power plant and substation technicians. With grants from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, the program supports workforce development and addresses the growing need for individuals trained in the latest energy technologies.
“One third of our workforce is retirement eligible,” said Bob Hughes, FPL St. Lucie Nuclear Plant General Manager. “This unique program allows us to train students while also building our workforce for the future.”
“I love that they are committed to hiring and training local people like myself,” said Kraus, a resident of Stuart, Florida. “I would not be where I am today without FPL's partnership with IRSC. I have learned so much through the program and made so many new friends and acquaintances over the last two years. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a long and promising career.”
Students in the program choose to major in one of five areas: instrumentation and controls, electrical maintenance, mechanical maintenance, radiological protection, and the new specialization in transmission and substation. Since the program's inception five years ago, 99 graduates have been hired by FPL.
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