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EPT to open location in Wichita

10 May 2011

Pratt Community College is teaming up with Westar Energy to offer the Electrical Power Technology certification program in Wichita.

The program will start in the fall of 2011 and offer people the opportunity to become certified lineman in one year. The year-long certification program will offer nine months of formal training and a three month internship.

While in the program, students will climb daily, get exposure to underground installation, go to hotline school, learn about electrical theory and safety, receive trencher and backhoe training and learn basic line construction.

"It will be exactly the same as what we offer on campus," said Jerry Burkhart, PCC's dean of technical instruction.

Burkhart said they became interested in the partnership when Westar asked if the college would want to put a training center in theirs.

"When the idea was brought to me, I thought it was great," Burkhart said. "A lot of people don't want to leave the Wichita area because of family ties. This allows them to get an education without leaving so they can find a job in the area."

Burkhart said the college will be able to use all of Westar's equipment at no charge and will broadcast the classroom work through an IPT system from PCC. With the classroom work coming from PCC, only one instructor will be need for the lab portion. Burkhart said they are hoping to find a retired lineman who would be interested in the teaching.

"The demand for lineman in the state of Kansas right now is huge," Burkhart said. "Companies have told us that as many as 30 percent of their lineman will be retiring in the next three to five years. Also, with the expansion of transmission lines, wind farms and other forms of alternative energy the need for skilled lineman is higher."

The training will be offered at the Ripley Training Center, 4400 West Seneca and the class sessions will be offered at Pratt Community College's eLearning Center, 7920 W. Kellogg.