TC Energy is investing $250,000 in Joliet Junior College’s operations engineering and technician (OET) program, increasing its ongoing support of the college.
Representatives with the Canadian-based energy company presented a check to the college during a ceremony on June 20 at Main Campus. They were joined by JJC administrators, OET students, Illinois lawmakers and industry partners.
“As your community college, we know how important our role is in developing skilled workers to meet labor market demand,” said JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell. “We truly feel we have accomplished that with this program, with three cohorts completed since 2016.”
The OET program has associate degree options in operations engineer and operations technician, which produce skilled workers in the petrochemical, nuclear, and manufacturing industry.
Since its launch in 2015, the OET program has enjoyed strong partnerships with industry leaders like TC Energy, along with Aux Sable, CITGO, Exelon Generation, and LyondellBasell. The program has returned a 100 percent completion and employment rate over that time, and graduates are earning an average salary of $72,000.
Scott Castleman, TC Energy manager of public affairs for the US-West, said partnering with JJC has made a lot of sense for both sides.
“The OET program utilizes the latest standards and technology to ensure Joliet’s aspiring professionals are real-world ready after graduation,” said Castleman.
Aisha Malovski graduated from JJC in May, and is now employed at TC Energy at its Morris office as an electrical instrumentation and controls technician.
“Thanks to the great JJC professors I was always encouraged to ask questions and they made sure to take the time to ensure that I understood the lessons,” said Malovski. “I look forward to seeing the program grow and help others reach their dreams like they did with me.”
“The operations engineering and technician program has done and continues to do wonders not only for students but for the community,” said Illinois State Sen. Sue Rezin, who worked with JJC and several local employers to establish the OET program in 2015.
Rezin noted that students like Aisha are getting an education locally at JJC and then finding a career nearby after graduation.
“It has been a pleasure working with our corporate partners on a program that meets their needs to train a skilled workforce and at the same time embed essential skills within the program,” said Amy Murphy, JJC dean of applied arts, workforce education and training. “Not only does the program provide the technical skills needed to fulfill operator and maintenance technician roles, but it has incorporated many soft skills that employers want and need.”
To date, TC Energy has committed a total of $305,000 to JJC.
JJC Foundation President Jen Howard said companies like TC Energy not only helped develop the OET program but have continued to invest in it through student scholarships and equipment.
For more information about JJC’s operations engineering and technician program visit www.jjc.edu/oet.
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