The Times West Virginian

December 27, 2012

Pierpont program ‘opens up possibilities’

By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Pierpont Community & Technical College strives to model its programs after its tag line: Practical, Possible.

One of those programs, the Power Systems Institute (PSI), which partners with FirstEnergy, is a two-year program that trains students to enter the workforce as lineworkers and substation electricians.

“It is the epitome of that tag line,” said president Dr. Doreen Larson. “It’s a practical program and it opens up possibilities for a group of students that probably never would’ve thought they’d go to college.”

Fall 2012 was the first semester for PSI. The unique program incorporates a technical curriculum with a standard college curriculum, with students receiving technical training at FirstEnergy 2 1/2 days a week and attending general education classes 2 1/2 days a week. According to Larson, a lengthy selection process is used to determine the students who are selected into the program. Nearly 400 prospective students are recruited, with 12 lineworkers and 12 substation electricians ultimately being chosen for the program. Before the fall term begins, those 24 students attend a “boot camp.”

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