St. Mary's County Times August 10, 2017 - Page 13

Thursday, August 10, 2017 Education The County Times 13 CSM Partners with SMECO on Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate 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. Line- men 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 line- men positions, which, in Maryland, earn an average of $35.96 an hour, ac- cording to Indeed, an online job site that tracks salary data in certain industries. SMECO, for instance, reports receiving hundreds of applications whenever they announce a new training class for ap- prentice 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 utili- ties are having a hard time finding quali- fied applicants.” In response, the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has worked with SME- CO to create the Pre-Apprenticeship Program to provide practical electrical utility worker training. The 12-week program of courses, which will be of- fered at CSM’s newly opened Regional Hughesville Campus, focuses on skills needed for candidates for utility training programs but also skills that are desir- able in any of t he trades. Completers of the program will earn a continuing edu- cation certificate from CSM and receive hiring preferences from SMECO. SME- CO reached out to all regional electrical utilities and contractors to alert them to this new resource and encouraged 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, announcing 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 Hughesville 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, includ- ing pole climbing, which is the great lev- eler. SMECO will be providing the elec- trical utility practicum as a community service as a good partner with CSM.” Atherton will serve as the SMECO in- structor for the 40-hour field practicum portion of the course. “It involves a lot of safety training,” said CTET Director Bruce Posey about the certificate requirements. The cours- es required for the certificate will cover topics such as excavation safety, work- ing in confined space, first aid and CPR and core construction skills.” SMECO has demonstrated addition- SELF-SERVE DOG WASH FULL SERVICE GROOMING al support for the Pre-Apprenticeship Program by funding two scholarships to assist promising students who dem- onstrate financial need and are from an underserved population for the fall 2017 semester. 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 find a job,” Posey said. “We can help you get the skills needed to be consid- ered 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, con- tact the CSM Foundation at 301-934- 7649. For information on CSM’s Pre- Apprenticeship Program, visit http://bit. ly/2sGBrfp. From CSM NATURAL PET FOODS GOURMET DOG BAKERY HIP TOYS & ACCESSORIES Summer Fun! 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. CHOOSE FROM A WIDE VARIETY OF OUTDOOR TOYS FOR FUN SUMMER PLAY WITH YOUR COMPANION. Great selection of water toys Chuckit! toys for fetch Plus, lots of other indestructible options GET OUT AND PLAY! SAN SOUCI SHOPPING PLAZA 22598 MacArthur Blvd. California, MD 20619 301.917.WASH (9274) WAGNWASH.COM PROUD TO BE LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED