Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has hired 18 recent graduates of the company's utility worker training program as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance service reliability for customers in Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
The new employees include 11 line workers that are members of the first graduating class of the company's Power Systems Institute (PSI) program established with Blue Ridge Community & Technical College in Martinsburg, West Virginia,. in 2015. Two additional new line workers graduated from a partnering college outside the state. The five new substation electricians graduated from an existing PSI program at Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont, West Virginia.
"The PSI program is an effective pipeline for adding well-trained, highly skilled employees to our workforce," said James A. Sears, Jr., vice president of Potomac Edison. "By teaming with our veteran linemen and substation personnel, these new employees will help ensure reliable service for our customers, now and in the future."
The new lines employees, hometowns and work locations are: Thomas Buch, Pittstown, N.J., Mount Airy, Md.; Garrett Clise, Frostburg, Md., Cumberland, Md.; Todd Custer, Oakland, Md., Oakland; Craig Elwood, Jr., Clear Spring, Md., Williamsport, Md.; James Fania, Annandale, N.J., Mount Airy, Md.; Darren Folk, Hedgesville, W.Va., Martinsburg, W.Va.; Dalton Funk, Boonsboro, Md., Frederick, Md.; Craig Funk, Grantsville, Md., Cumberland, Md.; Tyler Johnson, Frederick, Md., Frederick; Colton Peck, Swanton, Md., Oakland, Md.; Tylar Penwell, Martinsburg, W.Va., Williamsport, Md.; Leif Sandy, Martinsburg, W.Va., Mount Airy, Md.; and Hunter Weaver, Hedgesville, W.Va., Martinsburg, W.Va.
The new substation employees, hometowns and work locations are: Jordan Bobbins, Shinnston, W.Va., system crew; Joseph Klink, Hyndman, Pa., Williamsport, Md.; Bradley Reichard, Tariff, W.Va., system crew; Austin Statler, Core, W.Va., Frederick, Md.; and Ben Weimer, Lonaconing, Md., system crew.
PSI is an award-winning, two-year educational program originally developed by FirstEnergy in 2000 to help prepare the company's next generation of utility line and substation workers.
The PSI curriculum for lines employees requires two-and-a-half days each week spent at Blue Ridge completing academic course work, with the remainder of the week spent at a Potomac Edison training facility in Williamsport, Md. The PSI curriculum for substation employees requires a half week spent at Pierpont completing academic course work, with the rest of the week spent at a FirstEnergy facility in White Hall, W.Va. All students focus on safe work practices and procedures in the electrical environment. The graduates earned an associate of applied science degree in Electric Utility Technology.
Since the program's inception, FirstEnergy has hired 1,102 line and 360 substation personnel who completed PSI programs in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.