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Electrical Powerline Students Receive Scholarships

05 May 2015

In a presentation ceremony on May 4, two Pratt Community College students in the Electrical Powerline Technology program were recognized for their hard work with scholarships from ITC Great Plains.
Jesus Villegas of Great Bend and Dereck Hahn of Garden City were each awarded $1,000 towards their college expenses by the energy company, which recognizes the importance of investing in the next generation of skilled workers.
"As a large portion of the workforce ages out of the industry, we are looking for highly trained and specialized workers to fill that gap," said Brett Leopold, president of ITC Great Plains.  "We are glad to invest in educational institutions for that reason: to field the best and brightest into the industry. Community colleges are very special, and whole communities often revolve around their programs and events. We rely on your instruction to produce quality employees and look forward to working with you in the future."
The presentation was attended by 15 of the recipients' classmates, who are finishing their first year of instruction and will spend their summer documenting 400 hours of work with area electric companies to fulfill the paid internship portion of the curriculum. This summer, Villegas will be working with Wheatland Electric Cooperative and Hahn will work with Sunflower Electric.
"ITC has been very supportive of our program and provides our students with important scholarship dollars," said PCC Instructor Dave Campbell. "We greatly appreciate the assistance from our industry partners. The two students receiving this scholarship have shown a lot of leadership this year and really earned this honor. They've learned quickly, asked questions, and passed their knowledge on to the other students. We look forward to seeing them in successful careers after graduation."
PCC Board Chair Michele Hamm was also in attendance and emphasized the important role that electrical power line workers hold from a layman standpoint.
"Several of the area mothers and I have brought our children out to watch these students climb poles," said Hamm. "It was very instructive for them to get a closer look at how that portion of our infrastructure works, and next time there was a storm and our power lines had to be repaired, I was able to remind them of the many faces behind that daily service we receive."
ITC Great Plains, LLC is a transmission-only utility operating in the Southwest Power Pool region. The company currently owns and operates approximately 436 circuit miles of transmission lines in Kansas and Oklahoma. ITC Great Plains is a subsidiary of ITC Grid Development, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation's largest independent electric transmission company. ITC's focus on transmission and grid development drives operational excellence and delivers superior value for customers, communities and other stakeholders.

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 L-R: PCC Board Chair Michele Hamm, PCC Interim VP of Instruction Michael Westerhaus, ITC Great Plains President Brett Leopold, scholarship recipients Dereck Hahn and Jesus Villegas, and program instructor Dave Campbell