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Program trains students for careers at power plants


     Luminant recently partnered up with Tyler Junior Col­lege to develop its new career developing Power Track program housed on the West Campus.

     Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings Corp., formerly TXU Energy, is the largest generator of electricity in Texas. Luminant operates coal, nuclear and natural gas power plants and mines across Texas. Luminant is also the state’s top lignite coal miner with annual production expected to grow from its average of 20 million tons to 33 million in order to meet the fuel needs of the new generation.

     The annual production is not the only number rising. Fred Peters, director of marketing and public affairs for TJC, ex­plained that the average age of Luminant’s employees is 55. This aging work force creates the need to train the next generation.

     Luminant has partnered with TJC to create the Power Track program. This program concentrates on recruiting moti­vated students who desire hands-on work.

     Dr. Mike Metke, president of Tyler Junior College, de­scribed the partnership between TJC and Luminant.

     “Typically what happens in industries is they are great at performing whatever service but they are not near as good at educating people. That is really what we specialize in. It is a won­derful partnership. We’re the ones who know about education and they’re the ones that have the jobs and the need and the skilled specialists,” Metke said.

     Metke continued explaining that TJC serves as the creden­tialing agency for Luminant and provides housing for the equip­ment and resources that TJC could not have afforded without the partnership.

     The qualifications in order to apply for the Power Track includes: a high school diploma (or equivalent) minimum of a 2.5 GPA, and completion of an aptitude test prior to acceptance. Peters said the company is looking for the cream of the crop.

     “They are recruiting statewide. They are looking for 30 stu­dents to start and not all of those will come right from the Tyler area. They will choose the best they can,” said Peters.

     Those who are selected will be recipients of a full scholar­ship. This includes books and tuition for an associate’s degree from TJC. Students will also receive a paid internship at a Lu­minant power plant in Texas in between their freshman and sophomore years, during which the student will be paired with an experienced power plant employee.

     Those who would like to continue and become a part of the Luminant work force must maintain a 2.7 GPA in core energy courses and 2.5 in general studies, complete the internship, and display a desire to continue working for Luminant.

     The benefits of the program include a debt-free graduation and the potential to grow and enter the work force immedi­ately.

     “These people are likely to earn over $100,00 a year or the earning potential. These are really good paying jobs,” Metke said.

     There are not many programs that are like the Luminant Power Track.

     “There are just a couple of programs like this across the country that you can graduate with an associate’s degree and go immediately into a higher-scale, higher-paying job,” Peters said.

     For those interested in the program, the application and more information can be found online at http://www.luminantpow­ertrack.com.

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