MonPower, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has hired eight new line and substation employees from the Power Systems Institute training program, as part of its ongoing efforts to employ well-trained, highly skilled employees for its workforce.
The Power Systems Institute is a utility training partnership established in 2012 with Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont.
Students spend two-and-a-half days each week at Pierpont completing academic course work with the remainder of the week spent at a Mon Power training facility in White Hall, focusing on safe work practices and procedures in the electrical environment.
Todd Meyers, of FirstEnergy, said there is very little turnover among Mon Power employees, because the company offers very good jobs.
The training partnership with Pierpont was put together because the average lineman in the Mon Power system is 43 years old and the average sub-station employee is 46 years old. Within the next few years, numerous employees will be eligible for retirement.
The Power Systems program trains potential employees in safety, pole installation, the mechanics of the service trucks, and more. Students come out of the program as apprentices. The knowledge that will transform them into excellent workers will come through on the job training, as the experienced employees share their skills and work ethic.
“If people are interested in being a lineman and make it through the training, Mon Power will hire them and will try to keep them close to home,” Meyers said. “But there is mobility, if an employee wants it. Once they are with the company they can put in bids for jobs at other locations.”
There are opportunities for overtime, but Mon Power employees work hard for their money.
“It’s a great career,” Meyers said. “You can do it for a long time, but it may not be for everyone. The hours are long, and in Pocahontas County, the terrain is rugged. When there are emergencies, employees will sometimes miss birthday parties or other family events, but the customers are depending on them.”
A lineman’s salary starts at about $25 per hour, and will increase with more certifications and honed skills.
If students get through the program and keep their noses clean, Mon Power will usually hire them, Meyers said. And if hired by Mon Power, the students will receive reimbursement for their training program tuition.
The Power Systems Institute is an award-winning, two-year educational program originally developed by FirstEnergy in 2000 to help prepare the company’s next generation of utility line and substation workers.
Pierpont Community and Technical College holds an open house from time-to-time to provide information about the Power Systems Institute.
Since its inception, FirstEnergy has hired 884 line and 289 substation personnel who completed Power Systems Institute programs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia.
For information about how to enroll in the Power Systems Institute program, call 1-800-829-6801, or go to www.firstenergycorp.com/psi
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsyl- vania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.