CNCC, plant team up for tech program |

CNCC, plant team up for tech program

Colorado Northwestern Com-munity College is ready to roll with a program that prepares students for careers in energy technology.

The program is a joint venture between the college and the Craig Station Power Plant, which is facing large-scale turnover because of an aging work force.

“It’s an issue that not only Tri-State is facing, but utilities across the country,” spokesman Jim Van Someren said. “We’ve had extremely low turnover. These are good jobs and a testament to the kind of organization we work for.”

Van Someren said the turnover will be gradual but significant over the next five to 10 years.

The college has hired Ed Winters as the director for the Energy Technology Program. He will be responsible for overall management of the program in areas of Surface and Underground Mining and Power Plant Technology.

The college is still awaiting final approval for the program, which is expected this spring.

The college intends to launch the program in the fall.

“This program will be excellent for those who want to make a good salary at a job and train for it fast,” Winters said. “That’s possible through this five-semester program.”

The goal is to provide training that will offer students a chance to gain the actual knowledge needed to succeed in a power plant environment. The program’s aim will be to provide an entry level introduction to power plant fundamentals. Students will obtain a background on how steam generators work and how they transform fuel into energy as the basics surrounding the program.

“Tri-State is a wonderful model for the program as it has an excellent training area, and the college will be using a lot of Tri-State’s equipment with its program curriculum,” Winters said.

A pre-approval process for the program is under way, and Winters is forming an advisory committee.

The two-year program is designed to provide basic and advanced knowledge in the area of power plant fundamentals, instrumentation, control and maintenance. This program will prepare the student for employment at an electric generation facility at the operator level. Students must complete 15 general education required credits and 50 specialized program credits. Coursework will involve classroom and field exercises as well as an internship at a generating facility.

Winters graduated from Col-orado State University with a bachelor’s degree in range ecology in 1995. From June 1995 to January 2006 he has been employed with ColoWyo Coal Co., where he has worked in areas of technical control and operations.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or

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