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Company’s need for employees results in new course at High Tech Central

By Staff | Jul 18, 2011

A partnership between Lee County High Tech Center Central and Cape Coral business Turbine Generator Maintenance Inc. was formed to create a new program — Turbine Generator Mainte-nance, Inspection and Repair, which will begin Sept. 6.
High Tech Center Central Director Bill McCormick said the program is the first of its kind in Florida.
“Nowhere else in Florida is this kind of training being offered,” he said.
The idea of starting the new program sparked after Turbine Generator Maintenance owner David Branton approached McCormick. He said no one was offering the kind of training the business needed for new employees.
Since there is an extreme shortage of qualified technicians to do this type of work, Branton said he approached McCormick to see if the school could develop a program to train young adults coming out of high school.
“If they like to work with their hands, mechanical things and power, it is a wonderful high-paying, rewarding job,” Branton said about the 13-month certification program. “We are a local company, we want to hire local people.”
He said the new program will help offset the high level of unemployment by providing an opportunity to offer a new skill for individuals.
McCormick said they set about building a course for the new program, along with writing a brand new curriculum last year.
“The current work force in this industry, as in most industrial industries, is aging and there are not enough young people considering going into these sorts of industrial mechanical traits,” McCormick said. “We think it is a great opportunity for a young person just out of high school to get some real technical skill training.”
The program, which will take about a year and a half to finish, will meet from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students will learn about physics, electricity, electronics, hydraulic systems and assembly of high-speed turbines and generators.
Tuition for the entire program is $3,800, which breaks down to about $1,500 a semester. Financial aid is also available for students.
An internship for the students taking the course will be offered to them during the summer.
“Because we are doing this in partnership with a Cape Coral business, the students will be getting internships with the company, so they can go out into the field and get hands on experience,” McCormick said.
In addition, McCormick said TGM has agreed to employee most of the graduates with his business. He said they are almost guaranteed a position with the company in the working field.
“It is a highly sought-after skill with a guaranteed career and income,” he said.
“We are training them to work in the power industry and their job opportunities will not only be with TGM, but all over the state,” Branton said.
So far 12 students have signed up for the program, four of which are traveling from Lakeland. The maximum enrollment for the class is 20 students.
Branton said they have found a small turbine generator, which they are going to install on campus, so the students can use it for training.
The final cut-off date to enroll in the program is Aug. 15. Students can register by visiting the website www.hightechcentral.org or by calling 239-334-4544 to set up an appointment to talk with an enrollment counselor.
Branton said his business has been in Cape Coral since it incorporated in 1984. He said TGM works on electrical power plants and uses technicians, supervisors and technical directors to perform projects on power plants.
He said TGM is about a $27 million company that has 10 teams of turbine mechanics who are working all over the country. The company also has 43 full-time employees who are employed right now, with another 100 field technicians.
The business maintains, serves and supports power generators.