The Verdugo Power Academy had its inaugural graduation Saturday at the Glendale Central Library. The program, which trains people for jobs in the electric power industry is a collaboration with the Glendale Department of Water and Power.
“Generally it’s getting harder and harder to attract good, qualified, educated workers into various technical and trades positions within the utility” said Glenn Steiger, General Manager of GWP.
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The course, which is 17 units, held five days a week, eight hours a day, over a 16-week period covers a range of topics, including safety principles, electrical line mechanics and transformers and meters. Students learn how to climb power poles and build overhead lines and receive instruction in newer power saving technologies such as smart grids.
The Power Academy is funded through a federal stimulus grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board.
Eighteen students graduated from a pool of about 250 people who attended the original orientations. They were Ryan Adams, Fernando Alvarado, Kevin Borhaug, Francisco Bravo, Eric Duran, Garen Erdoglyan, Mary Harrington, Peter Kim, Gerard Khachaturyan, Jesse Looney, William Mattox, Oscar Paredes, Pablo Pelayo, Walter Polan, Juan Salomon, Joshua Schreck, John Strumreiter and Alexander Watts.
The keynote speaker was Congressman Adam B. Schiff, of the California 29th Congressional District. Additional speakers were Glenn Steiger, General Manager of GWP, Anthony Tartaglia, GCC Board of Trustees Clerk, and Scott Rubke, GCC Technical Division Chair.
In addition, remarks were made by VPA students Mary Harrington and Joshua Schreck. The presentatio of diplomas was done by Congressman Schiff and Rubke.
Instructor Randy States, who has been teaching lineman apprentices since the early 1960s and was recently inducted into the International Lineman’s Hall of Fame, (also known as “Yoda” for his calm demeanor), had the honor of cutting the cake, which was topped with an icing-photograph of the graduates and decorated with plastic utility poles.
Further information about the Verdugo Power Academy may be obtained from Lydia Basmajian, Counselor for Instruction and Workforce Development at [email protected] or (818) 240-1000 ext. 5918; or Scott Rubke, Technology and Aviation Division Chair, at [email protected], (818) 240- 1000 ext. 5541
Amy Hirsch and Yesenia Pereyra contributed to this article.