Corps apprentice program graduates six journeymen

Story by Gina Baltrusch

UMATILLA, Ore. — Six students graduated today from the Walla Walla District’s Power Plant Apprentice Program during a 10 a.m. ceremony June 23 at McNary Lock and Dam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced.

Benjamin Ashlock, an Army Reserve veteran from Kennewick, Washington, works at McNary Lock and Dam as a power plant mechanic. 

Jason Bohlke, an Army veteran from Benton City, Washington, works at McNary Lock and Dam as a power plant electrician.

Summer Dellamater, an Air Force veteran from Pasco, Washington, works at Lower Monumental Lock and Dam as a power plant operator.

Chris Ensley, a Marine Corps veteran from Colfax, Washington, works at Lower Granite Lock and Dam as a power plant electrician.

Cameron Hulse, an Air Force veteran from Dayton, Washington, works at Little Goose Lock and Dam as a power plant electrician.

Harold Wentworth II, an Army veteran from Pasco, Washington, works at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam as a power plant operator.

The apprentice program, based at McNary Lock and Dam, near Umatilla, Ore., develops trades and crafts journeymen to serve in Walla Walla District hydropower facilities. The program typically graduates five to six apprentices each year. The program is a four-year training program leading to a journeyman position at a hydropower facility in one of three crafts: electrician, mechanic or operator.

The first year focuses on gaining general hydropower knowledge, after which each student pursues a dedicated craft that signifies the start of a new career. The next two to three years are spent under the guidance of journeymen and a rigid academic curriculum. Academic work includes textbook studies, computer-based training and a strong emphasis of hands-on training. During their apprenticeship, students gain work experience at hydroelectric facilities in the district before they join the workforce as crafts persons. 

“The power plant apprentice program enables the district to better meet its future craftsman needs. It’s a critical part of maintaining a sustainable workforce in highly technical career fields. Apprentices learn from the masters, rather than trying to glean that knowledge out of a book at a later time when the experts may not be here to help them,” said Robin Floyd, Walla Walla District’s training manager for the program. “We’re excited to welcome these graduates into the ranks of journeymen, and to thank the craftsmen who coached them.”

For more information about the Walla Walla District’s Power Plant Apprentice Program, check out our website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Careers/PowerPlantApprenticeshipProgram.aspx.

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Photo by Jeremy Brownfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

 

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