The electric company is expecting to replace several hundred line workers this decade.
YOUNGSTOWN -- In response to a projected shortage of electrical line workers, Youngstown State University and FirstEnergy Corp. signed an agreement today establishing a new associate's degree in technical studies.
"It is industry-driven, with a technical component outside of the realm of the usual university instruction," Associate Provost Janice Elias said. "It was proposed by FirstEnergy, and the company will be involved with a great deal of the teaching because of its demands for people with these skills."
YSU is the fifth college in Ohio to establish such a partnership with FirstEnergy, which is faced with replacing a projected 340 retiring line workers this decade.
"In the past, line workers learned their craft and achieved specialized skill through classroom work and on-the-job training," said Rick Luse, manager of FirstEnergy's Power Systems Institute.
But with electric deregulation and rapid technological advancement, training for line workers needs to be condensed, he said.
Dr. Theodore R. Bosela, coordinator of the new program, said 12 to 15 students will be accepted in the new program for the fall semester.
Requirements: Students must complete 66 credit hours over a 21-month or four-semester period to get the degree. Students will split their time between laboratory training at a FirstEnergy facility and coursework at YSU.
After the second semester of classes, students will have the opportunity for a 10-week paid line field experience with FirstEnergy.