The new Operations Engineering and Technician (OET) Program at Joliet Junior College, which will lead graduates to careers in petrochemical, nuclear and manufacturing industries, received a generous donation from energy company TransCanada on July 29.
TransCanada representative Peter Jaskoski gave a $10,000 donation to JJC President Debra Daniels to invest in equipment for the program, which will begin in the fall 2015 semester. Special guests who attended included Illinois Secretary of Education Elizabeth Purvis, State Sen. Sue Rezin, State Sen. Pat McGuire, State Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr., a representative from Congressman Bill Foster’s office, and a representative of Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
The college developed the OET program with the support of State Senator Sue Rezin and several local employers in response to anticipated industry growth and an increasing number of retirees in coming years, with many openings for well-paying, stable jobs expected at area energy and manufacturing companies. Students accepted into the program will be able to pursue an associate degree in either Operations Engineering or Operations Technician.
“We are very thankful for TransCanada’s significant investment in our program and in our students,” Daniels said. “It is our duty to educate and train a skilled workforce with state-of-the-art curriculum and tools. This gift will support that goal.”
Jaskoski said TransCanada is pleased to present the donation to enhance training and that the contribution continues the company’s long history of building partnerships with the communities where their employees live and where the company operates.
“Preparing workers for the petrochemical industry holds the promise of a skilled labor force that will help support the emerging employer demands in energy, as well as the labor needs in manufacturing,” he said. “Graduates of this program will infuse a new crop of outstanding people and ideas into our economy.”
JJC worked closely with partners Aux Sable Liquid Products, Exelon (Braidwood, Dresden and LaSalle Stations), LyondellBasell, Grundy Area Vocational Center, Coal City School District and Grundy Economic Development Council to develop the curriculum and ensure that students would be learning the precise skills employers would be looking for in future employees.
Sen. Rezin lauded the development of the program and the critical partnership between local education and industries.
“It’s no surprise that just short time after launching the new Operations Engineering Technician program, it reached its capacity of interested students,” Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said. “This new program is so important to our region as it creates a pipeline for young people who are interested in petrochemical, nuclear, and manufacturing industries to stay and work here. Our region offers so much in these fields, so it’s vital we keep our local talent here. I want to thank everyone who helped bring this new program to Joliet Junior College and TransCanada for their generous donation.”
For more information on the OET program, visit: http://www.jjc.edu/operations-engineering-tech/Pages/default.aspx