NTU’s Dual-Credit Program Offers Job Experience for High School StudentsNov 9th, 2014 | By tcj | Category: 26-2: Workforce Development, Tribal College News
In an effort to give high schools specialized workforce training, Navajo Technical University (NTU) is offering a dual-credit program in industrial maintenance and operations. NTU launched the initiative in collaboration with the Central Consolidated School District and the Arizona Public Service (APS) utility company in 2012, with the intention of helping students get a jump-start on higher education.
Students earn college credit and also have the option of working for the APS power plant upon completion. With the training, students are designated as utility helpers under the National Center for Construction Education and Research and are prequalified for apprenticeship programs with APS. “The base to success is education, and this program provides students with the technical skills they need to go to work at a power plant or other utility companies,” explains NTU dean of instruction Dr. Casmir Agbaraji. “It is a great accomplishment.”
As part of their coursework, students were introduced to the fundamental skills needed to work in a power plant and were educated in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety, construction math, construction drawings, basic material handling, oxyfuel cutting, and basic rigging. Students also became familiar with industrial maintenance equipment and tools such as fasteners and anchors, gaskets and packets, pumps and valves, lubrication, and mobile and support equipment.
“It’s a good stepping stone,” said student Tyler Lewis, whose grandfather worked at the Four Corners Power Plant as a welder for over 30 years. “You learn a lot at such a young age with skills that will help you. It was a great experience.” Roberta Nargo, who was recognized as the first female to participate in the program, agreed with Lewis. “It was good. I had to adjust at first with all the guys in the program, but it made me confident after I learned I could be on the same level as them when it comes to operating tools. It was great doing the hands-on stuff with the employees and instructors.”
NTU’s industrial maintenance and operations program requires 35 credit hours to earn a certificate. Nineteen of the credits derive from general education requirements, and the other 16 are rooted in the core industrial maintenance courses. Although students are taught on-site at the Four Corners Power Plant, they complete their coursework at NTU, or any other institution of their choice, before earning their certificates.