“At first I didn’t know if I could do it,“ said Donald Kenneda. “But I did it.”
Donald and his son Justin recently completed New River Community and Technical College’s Electric Distribution Engineering Technology program, along with 30 other students including another father and son.
“The first three weeks are the most challenging,” said Visiting Instructional Specialist of Line Service Mechanic Mike King. “If you can make it through the first three weeks, you can make it through the program.”
Donald and Justin were able to encourage each other and do homework together, and Donald’s past experience helped him retrain. Donald had worked in the mining industry for over ten years and learned about New River CTC’s accelerated EDET program through the unemployment office and UMWA.
“I’ve been interviewing for jobs, and now, Justin can get started in a good job, too,” said Donald.
Justin Lester started as an EDET student in the Learn and Earn program through New River CTC and Pike Electric earlier in the year. The state initiative allows students to intern and receive paid work experience and college credit. After his father Cecil Lester found himself unemployed from the utility industry he enrolled in the accelerated EDET program offered over the summer.
“It’s a good program,” said Cecil Lester. “The instructors are good, and they provide the constructive criticism you needed for learning the industry.”
And the training is paying off. Interim Dean of Workforce Education Joseph Hazelwood reported that, to date, 22 of the EDET students who completed the spring, evening and accelerated cohorts have job offers.
For information about the EDET program at New River CTC, visit newriver.edu or call 866-349-3739.