Tri-County Students Say Duke Energy Co-op Positions
Offer Valuable Work Experience While Earning a Paycheck
CONTACT: GLENN HELLENGA, 646-1585
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/27/2009
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- The six Tri-County Technical College students chosen by Duke Energy didn’t have to think twice before accepting co-op positions at the company’s Oconee Nuclear Station this semester.
They all agree it’s a great learning experience that will stand out on their resumes. They also feel very lucky to get valuable work experience while earning a paycheck.
“I treat this co-op with the same respect that I would a full-time job -- and then some,” said Adam Sanders, of Pickens, an Industrial Electronics Technology (IET) major.
Selected from a group of 45 Tri-County applicants are John Cain of Anderson, an Industrial Maintenance Technology (IMT) major, who also holds an IET degree; Timothy Edwards, of Liberty, an IET major; Josh Garza, of Liberty, an IET major; Jason Rhodes, of Anderson, a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning major, who also holds an IMT degree, Sanders; and Clint Hall, of Anderson, an IMT major, who has a degree in Welding.
Tri-County’s cooperative education program is designed to help meet the needs of local industries in their search for highly skilled technicians. The co-op experience blends classroom studies
with real work experience.
Duke Energy technical co-ops must be full-time students at Tri-County and have completed one semester of college work. They also must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA.
Selection criteria included their educational backgrounds, instructor recommendations and references, work history and achievements, said Doug Hayes, instrumentation and electrical manager for Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station. “Co-ops must have a zest for learning and be energetic. In addition, all of these students have a positive attitude and confidence, which also played into the selection process. A real advantage of working as a co-op is that it solidifies their career decision,” said Hayes.
Cain, who works in predictive maintenance department and is working on a second degree in Industrial Supervision online, said, “Duke Energy is a great company to work for, and it’s a way to get our foot in the door for future employment.”
Duke Energy technical co-ops earn a paycheck, as well as part-time company benefits, including insurance and 401K retirement.
Although not promised employment after graduation, Hayes says in the past co-ops have been fortunate in securing full-time positions after graduation. “When you open up jobs for external hires, we receive hundreds of applications from across the Southeast. This experience gives them upfront exposure.”
A co-op experience is mutually beneficial for the company and the students, Hayes said. “It solidifies their career choice and gives them money while in school. It benefits the company because we are looking for a blend of experience and academics, and this is a way to provide customized training for Duke Energy while allowing the students to focus on their college education.”