Seventeen students graduated this week from the Kilgore College Electric Power Technology (KCEPT) program as the 26th class to complete the 10-week certificate program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public graduation ceremony was canceled for precautionary reasons.

Sam Alston, of Mount Vernon, was awarded the “Top Hand Award,” presented to the student who earns the highest overall score in the course.

Other awards given were “Most Improved Student,” awarded to Enrique Arriaga-Salazar, of Tyler; and the “Honor and Pride Award” given to Dalberto Lara-Sanchez, of Kilgore, awarded to the student that does the best job of “keeping the team’s spirits uplifted and motivated during training.”

This is the sixth class to use the new training field, formerly located at Rusk County Electric Cooperative in Henderson. It is the fourth class under the leadership of instructor Travis Croft.

For more information on the program, visit www.kilgore.edu/ept.

Graduation candidates, listed by hometown:

Abilene: Nolan D. Roberts

Canton: Hunter R. Massey

Flint: Izik S. Hertel

Forney: Halston H. Holcomb

Frankston: Justin S. Terrell

Henderson: Dustin B. Webb

Jacksonville: Jon R. Perez

Kilgore: Dalberto Lara-Sanchez

Lindale: Brayden A. Bergbower

Lufkin: James C. Havard

Lufkin: Cody B. McLin

Lufkin: Dustin C. Paulson

Mount Vernon: Sam R. Alston

Ore City: Lane W. Hitchcock

Texarkana, AR: Chase E. Cook

Tyler: Enrique Arriaga-Salazar

Van: Colton R. Thedford

About the facility

The training facility, located at 2317 CR 174 East in Kilgore, boasts four acres and more than 30 training poles with transformers and equipment.

”Our training facility offers a larger area for more extensive training. We are able to offer various levels of training simultaneously to both new students and continued training for the power company personnel in a more real-world environment that meets or exceeds the requirements by electric utility companies,” said Robert Horn, KC workforce-development specialist.

“The overall size of the area along with continued support from the electric cooperatives will put the field on track as one of the top training facilities in the nation.”

About the program:

The program is a structured curriculum beginning with basic electricity – covering everything surrounding the electric utility core business from generation, transmission and distribution. It ends with specialized hands-on training with regulators and transformers. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter into the utility business with a sound foundation that will lead to a successful career as journeyman lineman. With a large number of projected employee retirements within the next five to seven years, statewide electric distribution companies, municipalities and utility companies are expecting a large shortage of workers. Graduates can earn starting salaries of $18-22 per hour.

KCEPT History

Back In the early 2000’s a group of safety professionals, operational personnel and general managers from various Texas electric cooperatives met to discuss the major issues facing the electric utility industry. One of the major issues facing the cooperatives was the fast-paced loss of a highly trained workforce due to retirements.

It was predicted that the utilities field was going to lose 30,000 to 50,000 employees within the next 10 years, and it did not have the trained employees to recover.

The group met with various third-party training organizations and learning institutions to address concerns and look for answers to the severe problems facing the electric utility business.

The group met with KC Workforce Development personnel and an alliance was formed with the establishment of the KCEPT Oversight Advisory Committee to assure the needs of the electric cooperatives were being met. The objective of the committee was to establish a training curriculum that meets the cooperatives’ direct needs with safety being the main focus.

The training then created a 10-week program for the training of new employees to fill the void in the loss of a highly trained professional craftsmen.

The KCEPT program began in 2008 and has since graduated more than 300 students representing five states.

The committee continues to monitor and upgrade the training program with KC administering the program.


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