News: Tulsa District Hydropower Training Program graduates recognized
Story by Nathan Herring
TULSA, Okla. - Col. Michael Teague, Tulsa District commander recognized 17 graduates from the Hydropower Training Program during a recent graduation ceremony held at the Keystone Lake powerhouse.
This was the first time graduates of the program were formally recognized since the program’s creation in the 1960s.
The Hydropower Training Program is a four year program and trainees are generally recruited from local technical schools where they have completed or are in the process of completing a mechanical or electrical technical program. Once in the program, the trainees spend part of their time working on textbook training and the rest of their time is on the job training. They are tested every six months.
“The textbook training is extensive and difficult,” said Beau Biffle, chief of the Tulsa District’s Hydropower section. “The tests consist of both written sections covering the textbook training and the rest of the oral sections cover things they learned during the on the job training.”
According to Biffle, all new employees in Tulsa District hydropower plants are required to complete the training program. It provides knowledge and experience that is so specialized it is difficult to find outside of training programs such as this.
All The graduates progress through a structured training program that consists of four levels lasting a year each. Each level has specific goals benchmarks that trainees must meet to graduate the program. The training is specific to hydropower and covers all the systems used within the Corps plants. It focuses on four crafts specific to hydropower—power plant mechanic, power plant controller, power plant electrician, and power plant electronics mechanic.
“This program ensures that the Tulsa District hydropower has a technically competent, highly skilled workforce that is capable of performing specialized work in a safe manner at all eight of the district’s hydropower plants,” said Steven Mills, R.S. Kerr powerhouse superintendent.
In the last six years there have been 21 graduates and another 10 employees are currently in the program.