Colorado Northwestern Com--munity College officials hope to continue training students for high-demand positions by launching an industrial electrician program in August.
Ed Winters, energy technology program director, said the college plans to partner with Trapper Mine, Twentymile Mine and Colowyo Coal Co. to get the program going.
"We discovered that there is a huge demand for electricians for that industry," Winters said. "We're really starting to gear up toward CT, or career and technical education, programs."
Other programs train students in residential and light industrial electrical work, Winters said.
"This program is unique in the state in that it's geared toward heavy industry, specifically the mining industry," he said.
The proposed industrial electrician program would span five semesters and include an internship at one of the mines. Students would graduate with an associate of applied science degree.
The program is scheduled to be offered at the Craig campus, with the possibility of expanding to the Rangely campus.
Winters said training students in Craig for area jobs creates better retention. Mines often recruit from outside this area and employees move away, he said, noting the energy industry is booming, and employers need trained workers.
"Right now, these jobs are in industry, and that's what we're catering to," he said.
Winters submitted the program for approval to the Colorado Community College System in December. He said it has earned a peer review group's recommendation. Winters expects to know by mid-February whether the program is approved.
"I don't anticipate any hang-ups," he said.