Calvert County Times August 10, 2017 - Page 9

Thursday, August 10, 2017 Education The Calvert County Times 9 CSM Partners with SMECO on Pre-Apprenticeship Certifi cate SMECO President and CEO Joe Slater announces CSM’s new Pre-Apprenticeship Program at the April 25 dedication and ribbon-cutting for the college’s Center for Trades and Energy Training (CTET) at the Regional Hughesville Campus. Good pay. Important work. Physically challenging. These are just a few of the reasons that many young people are at- tracted to a career as a lineman for a utility. “It’s a brotherhood,” said Jason Ather- ton, technical training manager at SME- CO. “People require electricity. Linemen are the people who go out there and make sure you have it.” Utilities like SMECO are aware that there is a great deal of interest in linemen positions, which, in Maryland, earn an average of $35.96 an hour, according to Indeed, an online job site that tracks sal- ary data in certain industries. SMECO, for instance, reports receiving hundreds of applications whenever they announce a new training class for apprentice linemen. The problem is that though hundreds apply for the training class, too few ap- plicants have the skills necessary to even start to learn the job, according to SMECO representatives. “Some have no idea how to properly climb a ladder or use a shovel,” Atherton said. “All utilities are having a hard time fi nding qualifi ed applicants.” In response, the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has worked with SME- CO to create the Pre-Apprenticeship Pro- gram to provide practical electrical utility worker training. The 12-week program of courses, which will be offered at CSM’s newly opened Regional Hughesville Cam- pus, focuses on skills needed for candi- dates for utility training programs but also skills that are desirable in any of the trades. Completers of the program will earn a continuing education certifi cate from CSM and receive hiring preferences from SMECO. SMECO reached out to all regional electrical utilities and contractors to alert them to this new resource and en- couraged them to support the program. “SMECO has been collaborating with CSM on a program of study to meet a very important need … What they have come up with is truly exciting,” said SMECO President and CEO Joe Slater, announc- ing the Pre-Apprenticeship Program at the April 25 dedication and ribbon-cutting for CSM’s new Center for Trades and Energy Training (CTET) at the Regional Hughes- ville Campus. “Students will spend 12 weeks learn- ing core construction skills and safety practices here in the CTET,” Slater said, “And then they will go across the road to the SMECO’s lineman training yard for basics in electrical utility work, including pole climbing, which is the great leveler. SMECO will be providing the electrical utility practicum as a community service as a good partner with CSM.” Atherton will serve as the SMECO instructor for the 40-hour fi eld practicum portion of the course. “It involves a lot of safety training,” said CTET Director Bruce Posey about the certifi cate requirements. The courses required for the certifi cate will cover top- ics such as excavation safety, working in confi ned space, fi rst aid and CPR and core construction skills.” SMECO has demonstrated additional support for the Pre-Apprenticeship Pro- gram by funding two scholarships to as- sist promising students who demonstrate fi nancial need and are from an under- served population for the fall 2017 semes- ter. In addition, scholarships are available through the CSM Foundation. Employers who hire students from this pool are getting a new employee with the training necessary to be placed on the job site almost immediately. “If you don’t have any skills, it’s tough to fi nd a job,” Posey said. “We can help you get the skills needed to be considered for employment.” The Pre-Apprenticeship Program will be offered at the Regional Hughesville Campus beginning late summer/early fall, and students may register now. To learn more about the scholarships, contact the CSM Foundation at 301-934-7649. For in- formation on CSM’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program, visit From CSM g n i d d e W New for 2017 e d i Gu Publication Date : October 19 Reservation Deadline: October 9 A Great Advertising Opportunity For: Bridal Shops • Photographers Venues • Florists • Bakeries • Jewelers Caterers • Car Services • DJs Stationary Shops •Videographers County Times St. Mary’s County l Calvert County For more information contact Jen Stotler at 301-247-7611 or