RCC’s EUSRT program seeks students up for a challenge

13 Spring graduates all have job offers

By Wylie Bell
Richmond Community College

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HAMLET — Sixteen Richmond Community College students enrolled in the Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology (EUSRT) program recently had the opportunity to vie for seven summer internship spots with Duke Energy.

Landing an internship with Duke Energy is a golden opportunity for these students. They will earn a base salary, and their housing is paid for if they have to relocate for the summer. These internships also position them for a job with the company upon graduation.

An RCC photo Richmond Community College student Aaron Snead of Rockingham sits in front of a panel of Duke Energy supervisors who interviewed him, along with other Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology students at RCC, for summer internship spots.

An RCC photo
Richmond Community College student Aaron Snead of Rockingham sits in front of a panel of Duke Energy supervisors who interviewed him, along with other Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology students at RCC, for summer internship spots.

“Richmond Community College is offering a two-year degree program that is not being offered anywhere else in the country, and we are getting attention from companies in the utility industry as far away as Alaska that are interested in hiring our graduates,” said Steve Lampley, lead instructor for the EUSRT program.

Municipal Light & Power of Anchorage, Alaska, sent Lampley an email last week looking for EUSRT graduates to fill a relay technician job opening. The salary for the position is $100,380.

About the EURST program

Established in partnership between RCC and Duke Energy, the EUSRT program prepares students for careers in the electric utility industry and other industries that rely on complex control systems.

In the utility industry, entry level technicians with two- or four-year degrees in electronics engineering require five years of training to be capable of maintaining and supporting substations and the relay equipment associated with them. The EUSRT program, however, was crafted specifically to develop technicians with the training and skills to begin work immediately in the utility industry and cut the normal training time in half. Salaries for this two-year degree typically start around $60,000 a year.

“We wanted to create a program that would provide people with sustainable 21st-century jobs,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, RCC president. “When the College recognized the power industry’s need to train the next generation of utility workers to replace those approaching retirement age, we were on board to establish a program that would meet a demand and offer our students an opportunity for high skill, high wage jobs.”

Duke Energy has been instrumental in the development of the EUSRT program at RCC, providing over a million dollars in funding and equipment since the program’s inception in 2011. Doble Engineering Company has also been a key partner for the program through annual donations of test equipment and software.

Other companies want on board as well. South Carolina Electric & Gas recently reached out to Lampley to donate recycled equipment to the program, as well as to inquire about hiring graduates.

Representatives from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories based out of Pullman, Wash., came to RCC to interview EUSRT students for technician positions at its Tampa location. Schweitzer is the premier global manufacturer of products and services for the protection, monitoring, control, automation and metering of electric power systems.

Ambitious students needed

Thirteen students are graduating from the EUSRT program on May 16. All 13 have received job offers for positions paying $29 to $31 per hour.

“We have the program; we have the jobs; now we need more students,” Lampley said. “This is a challenging program, and we need quality students with strong math and science skills who are going to be focused and work hard.”

Lampley, a former senior engineering technical support specialist for Duke Energy, retired from a 42-year career in the utility industry.

Setting the bar high 

Students coming out of the EUSRT program at RCC are well prepared to work in this field, and companies are taking notice.

“A company that interviewed one of our students for a job opening in Florida said the student demonstrated more technical knowledge than others they’d interviewed, including ones with -ear engineering degrees,” Lampley said.

Lampley has also received positive feedback about his former students who are working in the industry.

“One of the students from our first graduating class has been working for Duke Energy for a couple years now, and her supervisor recently said he would hire 10 more like her if he could,” Lampley said.

Enrollment information

RCC is now accepting new students for its summer and fall semesters. New students can meet with an advisor and sign up for summer classes May 20 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at RCC’s main campus, 1042 W. Hamlet Ave., Hamlet. Registration for fall classes will be held June 25 and July 9 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the main campus.

To learn more about the EUSRT program at RCC, visit www.richmondcc.edu or call 910-410-1700.

Filed in: Business, Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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