Utility employers come from across US to hire NWTC students

Friday January 22, 2016
More than 20 employers came to NWTC this week to compete for about 50 students who are about to graduate from the Gas Utility Construction and Service program. Grads of the popular nine-month program typically start at a salary of $65,579. NWTC has one of the few gas utility degree programs in the US, and many grads have their pick of jobs in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and beyond.

Instructor Jason Nelson said that some employers came to campus willing to hire every grad available. Many industries are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, but the need in the energy industry is among the most acute. 
Ward Westphal of MP Technologies, Minnesota, said he came to campus because his company needs to expand. He said he was impressed by how ready the students were to work. "It's important for this industry that they be willing to consider moving around a little bit to work outside in the elements. I think the instructors have done a good job of making it real for these guys right away." He said hiring skilled grads is much more efficient for his company than hiring and training. "I tell these guys that they're on the fast track. They're way ahead of other new employees."
Some employers were returning to hire additional graduates.
"We have an established relationship with the Gas Utility program and have been very satisfied with the students we've been able to recruit," said Laura Kaker of Madison Gas and Electric. "The quality of training they get here makes them immediately successful. We have two supervisors who came through this program. It's been a great resource for us."
2013 graduate Luke Gessler was staffing a book for his employer, Mears, from New Hampshire. He said the program prepared him well for the field. He originally came to NWTC as a transfer student after realizing that the four-year college he originally chose was not a good fit. Choosing Gas Utility instead, he said, was “the best decision of my life so far. With this program, I’ve worked from Maine to Massachusetts to all along the East Coast.”

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