One of the nation’s largest energy companies is making its new home for employee training at Tyler Junior College.
Luminant, formerly TXU Power, made the announcement on the TJC West Campus in July. The company is using previously unused space in the Skills Training Center.
“It is a neat program and project that has a lot of potential,” said Tom Kleckner, spokesman for Luminant, “Partnering with Tyler Junior College and the Tyler Economic Development Corporation will help improve the caliber of our work force.”
The $1.7 million investment by Luminant in the Skills Training Center will create a two-story facility with classrooms, laboratories, and simulators for the company’s power plant operations.
During the ongoing construction, The Luminant Academy is working toward a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s Green Building Rating System Certification, which certifies buildings constructed using environmentally friendly materials.
“This is going to be beautiful and be using recyclable material,” said Dr. Aubrey Sharpe, dean of continuing studies. “The certification will stay with Tyler Junior College.”
The Luminant Academy will be broken up in to three colleges. The Technical College will teach how to safely maintain power plant operations. The Operating College will focus on new system management called “Lean Manufacturing” which focuses on efficiency and minimizing waste.
“Luminant is the first energy company to go under this new system.” Kleckner said.
The third college is a soft skills course involving a leadership college. “This helps employees in running a world class business,” Kleckner said.
The Luminant Academy will not only benefit Tyler Junior College but the city of Tyler as well by creating new jobs and bringing employees in to the area for different lengths of time.
“The facility has one manager hired, and four other employees, and expects to hire five others,” Dr. Sharpe said.
“We intend on sending employees from six weeks to three months, and they will be staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants, benefiting the economy,” Kleckner says. “We intend on sending 200-400 employees to the facility each year.”
The academy will open only to Luminant employees who will be earning Continuing Education Certification from TJC. There is also a possibility of adding a credit course to the academy that will be available to TJC students. Dr. Sharpe said the concept is still under development, but the course would focus on power plant operations and would be under the College of Applied Studies.
Both TJC and Luminant are looking forward to a long, beneficial relationship. Dr. Sharpe says the college and Luminant signed an eight to 10 year contract. The academy is set to open in October.
“This is not an investment you walk away from,” Kleckner said, “This is the beginning of a strong relationship.”