When Dodge City Community College announced it will end its electrical power technician program at the end of the semester this year, one question raised was how it could potentially impact businesses like Victory Electric in Dodge City.

"Victory Electric has always supported DCCC and the lineman/electrical power program," said Jerri Whitley, Victory Electric's vice president of communications. "In fact, several years ago Victory Electric was consulted and involved in the process when DCCC first created the program. Over the years, we employed several interns and hired graduates from the program.

"Just last year, we hired three employees who studied in the program at DCCC."

With the change made at DCCC, Whitley said Victory Electric understood the decision to eliminate the electrical power technician program from a business perspective, in an effort to streamline operations and expand other training programs that concentrate on areas in high demand locally.

"While it was no doubt a hard decision for DCCC," Whitley said, "we are lucky Kansas has two other schools in the state that offer line worker training programs for local students attend and receive the necessary training to have a successful career as a line worker."

According to Whitley, Victory Electric has relatively low turnover in its line/operations department at the current time.

A key factor in the low turnover for Victory is having a young workforce, which has already replaced several employees who have retired from the company.

"We do not anticipate much turnover in the coming years," Whitley said. "While Victory Electric isn’t experiencing nor do we anticipate experiencing a shortage locally, industry studies show that across the nation, the electric power industry workforce has a greater percentage of older workers, with employees older than 45 representing 58 percent of the workforce."

Of the four key occupations in the electric power industry, according to the Center for Energy Workforce Development, line worker jobs will experience the greatest growth between 2014 and 2024, adding more than 3,500 jobs.

"Kansas is extremely lucky to have two other lineman programs in the state," Whitley said. "Pratt Community College and Manhattan Area Technical College both have electrical power and distribution programs, each with a long history of producing quality lineman graduates. According to PCC and the Kansas Board of Regents, 60 percent of graduates in the program are employed in Kansas and Missouri."

DCCC says that by eliminating the electrical power technician program, as well as the automotive technology program, the college will begin to expand its diesel technology program and has begun to research specialty agricultural programs that are needed throughout southwest Kansas.

 

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com