January 26, 2011
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – At its January meeting, the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees approved two new academic programs in the Energy Production Technology program that will help students access careers in the energy field. The new programs are Crafts-Instrumentation and Control, and Crafts-Electrical, and they will begin this fall at the College’s M-TEC facility in Benton Harbor.
“These new programs are the result of continued work with our local energy partners to address their need for skilled workers,” stated LMC President Dr. Robert Harrison. “With the support and guidance of AEP, DC Cook Nuclear Plant, Entergy, Palisades Power Plant, and Consumers Energy, we are training area residents for successful career paths in this industry that is so important to our local economy.”
The Crafts-Electrical and Crafts-Instrumentation and Control degree concentrations provide new areas of specialty in the College’s Energy Production Technology program that was launched in 2008. These programs provide the required skills to satisfy the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum program outcomes. They also prepare students for transfer to several four-year colleges to complete bachelor degree programs in nuclear energy production. Annual enrollment in each new concentration is projected at 25 to 30 students.
“Maintenance work in power plants is divided into three disciplines: mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation and control. Our graduates will be prepared for jobs in a particular maintenance discipline with the addition of these new areas of concentration in our Energy Production Technology Crafts degree,” stated Ken Flowers, LMC department chair of Industrial Technologies.
While the base curriculum for both new areas of concentration is designed for entry level power plant employment, graduates will also be qualified to seek positions in manufacturing settings that use sophisticated monitoring and electrical systems.
Three years ago, LMC introduced the Energy Production Technology degree program, in collaboration with D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman and Palisades Power Plant in Covert, to address the anticipated shortage of energy industry professionals. Currently more than 150 students are enrolled in the program.
A survey by the Center for Energy Workforce Development found that the median age of electric energy workers was nearly nine years older than that of American workers overall, indicating that electric and natural gas companies will face a workforce shortage earlier than most companies. If aging electric energy workers leave the field as they become eligible for retirement, the industry, as a whole, will need to replace nearly half of its experienced workers over the next five years.
For more information about the new programs at LMC, contact Ken Flowers at (269) 927-8100 ext. 3032.