High school students from Ravenna, Kearney and Loup City visited Nebraska Public Power District’s Operations Center in Kearney Wednesday for Career Day. Kim Liebig, NPPD’s Career Outreach Specialist says that part of their outreach program is “to go into the high schools and middle schools and talk to kids about career opportunities in the electric utility industry. So we decided to take it one step further and bring the kids to our facilities.”
Students were able to visit with staff members at various stations around the Operations Center where staff members discussed education requirements and paths to their respective careers as well as hands-on activities and demonstrations. Liebing says people learn better by seeing and doing and retaining that information as well, “so our hope is that the kids will see something ‘cool’ and ‘interesting’ and it will lead them to a career in that area.”
Liebig says they also hope to change some perceptions about the electric utility industry acknowledging that the electric utility industry “is a male-dominated industry. But, there are females that work in this industry, so it’s not just for males. We encourage the females to go and get degrees and be the mechanics, engineers welders, electrician and line technicians ”
Among the Operations Center stations were line technicians with a safety trailer demo, the gear that line technicians wear, substation technicians with their equipment breakers and circuits, wind turbine technicians with virtual reality goggles depicting work on top of turbines, instrument and control technicians, environmental, cyber security, engineering and surveying with robots used to set-up surveying stakes. There were also tours of the power control room.