ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) – A local power company held a unique summer internship for some tech school students.
United Illuminating hosted a summer internship for nine seniors at Eli Whitney and Bullard Haven Technical Schools to teach them what it takes to repair power lines.
“You need to have it in you like a lot of stuff is heavy. You’ve got to be strong physically and mentally because they’ll be rushing you to get the job done,” said Bullard Haven Technical School Student Victor Azevado.
Both United Illuminating management and union members put on this first-ever internship.
“It’s very difficult to find qualified people who want to work 24/7 in all kinds of weather, heat, cold, so it’s difficult to find people who are qualified to do this job,” said United Illuminating Senior Management Christine Parivau.
“You’ve noticed that some of them have already learned how to climb up and down poles, which is a skill in itself. They’ve taken to all of the new tools that they use. It’s amazing how much they’ve already absorbed,” said President of Local 4701 Utility Workers of America, Moses Rams.
The 10-week program is challenging, but it allowed young adults to work with union pros in bucket trucks to learn all the ropes of a very technical job.
These young people have received incredible training for the past ten weeks, made $30 an hour, and received job offers from UI when they graduate.
“In the real world, there’s a lot of obstacles that come, but you have to figure it out. The best way that you can do it and provide energy,” said Eli Whitney senior Sandra Badillo.
D’Andre Brown, an Eli Whitney Technical Schools senior, tells News 8 that the 1-week program has been a life changer.
“A totally new path for me, and I feel like it’s going to be a great path for me,” Brown said.
All nine participants say they plan to accept the job offer from UI, and both the union and management are very proud that they were able to work together on this program.