Danielle Jolly (left), Hieu Nguyen (center), and Serenity Provenson (right) led a group of GNTC Instrumentation and Controls students on a tour of Plant Bowen. The trio are graduates of the program and the Instrumentation and Controls Academy, an educational partnership between GNTC and Georgia Power and Southern Company.
Danielle Jolly (left), Hieu Nguyen (center), and Serenity Provenson (right) led a group of GNTC Instrumentation and Controls students on a tour of Plant Bowen. The trio are graduates of the program and the Instrumentation and Controls Academy, an educational partnership between GNTC and Georgia Power and Southern Company.

(Rome, Georgia) – Most people from Rome and the surrounding area are familiar with the giant cooling towers that are part of Plant Bowen in Euharlee, but not everyone has a chance to go inside the facility and see how power is actually generated.

Plant Bowen personnel recently led a guided a tour of the plant, that was part of a larger presentation and luncheon, to expose Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students in the Instrumentation and Controls (I and C) program to a true industrial setting. The tour and presentation is done every year for students in the second year of the program.

“This gives the students a chance to meet I and C team leaders, maintenance managers, and even plant managers and these are people that may be offering jobs in the near future,” said Tom McNeal, workforce development specialist at Georgia Power. “Also, our folks get a chance to meet the upcoming graduates of the program.”

The presentation and luncheon included representatives from Plant Bowen, Plant Yates, Plant Hammond, and other Georgia Power and Alabama Power generating plants.

The plant tour was led by former GNTC students that graduated from the Instrumentation and Controls program and went on to the Instrumentation and Controls Academy, an educational partnership between GNTC and Georgia Power and Southern Company.

“It is a good program, I learned a lot from there,” said Hieu Nguyen, Junior I&C technician at Plant Bowen. “I love to learn how things work in this environment.”

The Instrumentation and Controls Academy is located in a state-of-the-art facility on GNTC’s Polk County Campus and is used to also provide advanced training for employees of Southern Company.

“To be eligible for the academy an Instrumentation and Controls student must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, meet certain work ethics, and then I do an evaluation on them,” said Dick Tanner director of the Instrumentation and Controls program at GNTC. “Based on that evaluation they are eligible for the academy.”

The academy provides students with hands-on training on the same equipment and simulators that Georgia Power and Southern Company uses to train its employees.

“You will learn a unique set of skills that will make you very valuable,” said Fabian Maciel, Junior I&C technician at Plant Bowen.

According to Serenity Provenson, I&C technician at Plant Bowen, the academy gives you good exposure to the entire field of Instrumentation and Controls.

“It’s everywhere in any manufacturing company not just in power generation,” said Provenson.

Danielle Jolly, I&C technician at Plant Bowen, says that she hopes to stay with the company until retirement.

“Southern Company is one of the last big companies that will develop you throughout your entire career and then you will be rewarded for that in retirement with fantastic benefits,” said Jolly. “It’s also pretty stable; I can’t see there would ever be an option to outsource power or generation.”

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities.  Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC.  This past year, 14,562 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 8,249 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the state of Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,313 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.