FirstEnergy

Bringing Lineworker Training to Neighborhoods

Challenge

Nearly two decades ago, FirstEnergy introduced the Power Systems Institute (PSI) to build a pipeline of trained and qualified line and substation workers to address future workforce needs. To ensure diverse representation in our award-winning PSI program, the company worked with local churches and community groups to reach out to prospective students in underrepresented communities.

Actions

In September 2016, The Illuminating Company (a FirstEnergy operating company) and the FirstEnergy Utilities Workforce Development group partnered with the Cleveland Clergy Coalition. The team held an interactive field trip in which prospective line candidates (recommended by the coalition) took part in hands-on activities and learned more about requirements for securing a spot in the PSI program.

Outcomes

PSI currently has eight diverse candidates sponsored by the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and FirstEnergy in our 2017 PSI selection process.

All of the potential candidates begin the two-week qualification school in June. Candidates who are successful during the qualification school will move on to our next step, which is an interview with the operations company. After these interviews, PSI seats in our program will be offered to candidates for our fall program enrollment at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland. Tri-C begins the fall semester August 21, 2017.

PSI is a two-year, full-time program that requires the students to attend two half-days in a week at a FirstEnergy training facility, learning the technical aspects of the job, and two other half-days at the college, completing their academic courses. Students participate in a 10-week paid summer field experience after their freshman year, which gives them exposure to working with FirstEnergy crews in the field. After the 10-week summer field experience, students return to the college/training classes for their sophomore year. Upon graduation, FirstEnergy’s operating companies have the opportunity to hire students full-time.

FirstEnergy President and CEO Chuck Jones continues to hold a shared interest with the coalition – comprising ministers and other key community leaders – in supporting Cleveland-area youth through economic development and employment opportunities.

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