FirstEnergy Presents Pierpont $100,000 for Power Systems Institute

FirstEnergy Presents Pierpont $100,000 for Power Systems Institute

FAIRMONT – Instead of beginning a new week, this Monday for some was the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. This was the case for 18 students from Pierpont Community and Technical College (PCTC) who started their jobs with FirstEnergy Monday, after graduating at Friday’s commencement ceremony. According to Holly Kauffman, West Virginia president of operations for FirstEnergy, the strong partnership between FirstEnergy and PCTC’s Power Systems Institute (PSI) is beneficial to both organizations, as the company often hires interns from the school to learn on the job.
 
“We have a strong partnership with the PSI here,” Kauffman said. “They get a really good education in-classroom as well as hands-on, and in a few weeks our first-year students are going to be out in the field working on a paid internship.”
 
On Tuesday, Kauffman represented FirstEnergy in a check presentation to PCTC, awarding $100,000 to the school to keep the technology in its programs up to date.
 
“Certainly some of the fields that they train the students in require a lot of technology, and we all know technology goes out of date very quickly,” Kauffman said. “Part of these funds will be used to make sure that they’re working on the latest and greatest technology, so when they come out on the field they have the skills they need to work right now.”
 
In total, FirstEnergy has awarded PCTC with nearly $240,000 over two years to put towards this endeavor.
 
Dr. Johnny M. Moore, president of PCTC, said the money given has allowed the college to keep equipment in the program updated and will continue to do so in the future.
 
“You have equipment, you have upgrades, instructors,” Moore said. “Scholarships, all of that sort of stuff.”
 
“It’s to run the program, the whole system,” Rusty Elliott, president of the Pierpont Foundation, added.
 
For Moore, the opportunity for students to obtain jobs with FirstEnergy companies is the most valuable asset the partnership provides to PCTC, and he commented on its overall effect on the economy. Students are graduating from and moving on to technical jobs because of the relatively low cost for classes at the community college, which allow money to be spent rather than put into loans.
 
“Just imagine this, you’re 21 or 22 years old, you’re making say 50-some thousand dollars with no debt, what are you going to do with that money,” Moore said. “That’s what I mean by economic impact.
 
“That’s what we produce and that’s the beauty of what we do as a community college; having that immediate impact on our community. And that’s why it’s so important to have relationships and partnerships.”
 
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