UPPER FRUITLAND, NM – On Monday, May 12, eleven students from the Central Consolidated School District were celebrated in a small reception at the Upper Fruitland Chapter House for completing ten credit hours of coursework through Navajo Technical University’s Industrial Maintenance and Operations dual credit program.
Students recognized included: Alexandria Begay, Duke Barber, Jerold Barber, Kevan Smallcanyon, Roberta Nargo, Ryan Benally, Silas Tippeconnie, and Tyler Lewis of Kirtland Central High School and Tristan Rico, Tyler George, and Ethan Coolidge of Shiprock High School. Of the eleven students, eight were awarded a certificate and toolbox for their completion of the courses Industrial Maintenance I and II, while the other three were in need of one more semester of instruction.
Navajo Tech began the dual credit program in collaboration with the Central Consolidated School District (CCSD) and the APS Power Plant in 2012 with the intention to help students get a jump-start on higher education. While students are given college credit through NTU’s HLC accredited Industrial Maintenance and Operations program, they are also presented the option of working for the APS Power Plant upon completion. With the training, students are designated as a utility helper under the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and are prequalified for apprenticeship programs with APS.
“The base to success is education, and this program provides students with the technical skills they need to go to work at a power plant or other utility companies,” explained NTU dean of instruction Dr. Casmir Agbaraji. “It is a great accomplishment.”
As part of their coursework, students were introduced to the fundamental skills needed to work in a power plant and were educated in OSHA safety, construction math, construction drawings, basic material handling, oxyfuel cutting, and basic rigging. Students also became familiar with industrial maintenance equipment and tools such as fasteners and anchors, gaskets and packets, pumps and valves, lubrication, and mobile and support equipment.
“It’s a good stepping stone,” said Tyler Lewis of Kirtland, NM, whose grandfather worked at the Four Corners Power Plant as a welder for over thirty years. “You learn a lot at such a young age with skills that will help you. It was a great experience.”
Roberta Nargo - who was recognized as the first female to participate in the program - agreed with Lewis. “It was good. I had to adjust at first with all the guys in the program, but it made me confident after I learned I could be on the same level as them when it comes to operating tools. It was great doing the hands on stuff with the employees and instructors.”
NTU’s Industrial Maintenance and Operations program requires 35 credit hours total to earn a certificate. Nineteen of the credits derive from general education requirements and the other sixteen are rooted in the core industrial maintenance courses. Whereas the majority of the recognized students completed the two Industrial Maintenance and Operations courses that are taught on site at the Four Corners Power Plant, they’ll need to finish the rest of their coursework at NTU or any other institution of their choice in order to obtain the certificate.
In attendance for the ceremony included David Bloomfield, site manager for APS; Arvin Trujillo, manager of government relations for APS; Dr. Rebecca Benedict, Director of Secondary Education for the Central Consolidated School District; Tina Descheenie, NTU provost; and Shawna Becenti, principal for Kirtland Central High School.
For more information on NTU’s dual credit Industrial Maintenance and Operations program, contact Dr. Casmir Agbaraji at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students.jpg: Arvin Trujillo (far left) congratulates students at a small reception at the Upper Fruitland Chapter House for completing ten credit hours of coursework through Navajo Technical University’s Industrial Maintenance and Operations dual credit program.
Toolbox.jpg: Eight students participating in NTU’s dual credit Industrial Maintenance and Operations program were awarded a toolbox and certificate of achievement for completing the courses Industrial Maintenance I and II.
RobertaNargo.jpg: Roberta Nargo of Upper Fruitland, NM addresses why she enrolled in NTU’s Industrial Maintenance and Operations dual credit program. Nargo is the first female to participate in the program and will seek to gain an apprenticeship with APS.