(Northwest Georgia) – Georgia Power and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) held a recent graduation ceremony on GNTC’s Floyd County Campus for the 2016-17 class of the Georgia Power Apprenticeship Program.
The Apprenticeship Program began with Georgia Power taking a look at their workforce and realizing that many of their experienced mechanics and electricians would be retiring at the same time.
To address the upcoming skills gap, Georgia Power met with representatives from GNTC to build a curriculum that would utilize the college’s resources to prepare apprentices to qualify for the journeymen level of employment in a much faster time-frame of training.
“We have found over the years, since the program began, the journeymen we have now in our plants are really up to speed and knowledgeable,” said Suellen Waddell, technical training supervisor at Georgia Power. “They have such a great jump start and foundation and they make some of our best journeymen.”
The program is a two-year curriculum for apprentice mechanics and apprentice electricians that involves classroom training and hands-on instruction in GNTC’s industrial labs. Apprentices also have to pass Georgia Power validated tests as part of the training.
Apprentice electricians worked with Motor Controls, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), industrial wiring, conduit pulls and other electrical components in GNTC’s industrial and electrical labs. Apprentice mechanics received hands-on training in GNTC’s Welding and Joining Technology and Machine Tool Technology facilities to learn lathe operations, welding, pipe bending and cutting, and other mechanical career-related skills.
“It’s very advantageous to the apprentices because I think they get a lot out of it and it gives Georgia Power high quality employees,” said Dick Tanner, director of Instrumentation and Controls at GNTC.
Upon completion of the program, electrical apprentices earn the Electrical Maintenance Technician certificate and mechanical apprentices earn the Mechanical Maintenance Technician certificate from GNTC.
There was a total of 25 graduates – 15 Electrical Maintenance Technicians and 10 Mechanical Maintenance Technicians in the 2016-17 class.
The Georgia Power Apprentice Program began to take shape in 2001 and the first graduates completed the program in 2004.
“The success of this program is directly related to the true partnership between Georgia Power and Georgia Northwestern Technical College,” said Waddell.
Graduates from Georgia Power’s Apprenticeship Program for 2016-17 were Steve Bailey, Greg Banks, Rodney Betsill, Eric Boatner, Aaron Bryan, Justin Clemons, Barry Franklin, Josh Freeman, Zach Heaton, Eric Hester, Kevin Kittle, Tony Maxwell, Chris McAlister, Josh Moates, Michael Newton, Jeff Pace, Tyler Price, John Rowland, Jerry Rowland Jr., Elisha Starley, Ben Stroupe, Jathan Turner, Nick Wade, Kenneth Whitehead, and David Wright.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.