FPL powers energy education, jobs for South Florida

Top Quote With the nation's unemployment numbers looming large, South Florida has been hit especially hard. But bright futures await students in FPL's cooperative energy education programs at Miami Dade College and Indian River State College. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) September 09, 2011 - Juno Beach, FL -- Graduating their fourth classes this year, the Clean Energy Institute at MDC and the Power Plant Technology Institute at IRSC are innovative partnerships between the schools, FPL and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in response to the workforce needs of the energy industry.

    The programs prepare individuals for high-skill, high-wage jobs. After two years of training, the graduates earn an associate in science degree and job offers from FPL, one of the state's largest employers. One of these graduates is Marcos Rodriguez, who, at age 20, is about to begin a career as a nuclear technician at FPL's Turkey Point Nuclear Plant. Below is his story.

    When I was a junior in high school at Miami Lakes Educational Center, I would often dream about my future.

    At first, I wanted to be an automobile service technician, like my Dad. He was always working with cars and while I was growing up I would help him. I've just always had a love for being a mechanic. But even more than that, I was intrigued by the physics behind the working components - learning how things work and why.

    That's when I started thinking what else I could do with the rest of my life. My cousin works at the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant and told me about a nuclear apprentice program at Miami Dade College's Clean Energy Institute. It's a partnership between MDC and Florida Power & Light. You receive extensive training and, once you graduate, you're eligible for jobs with an average starting salary of $55,000 to $57,000.

    I was excited about the opportunity, and with my cousin's encouragement I signed up for the program at MDC's Homestead campus. This ended up being a life changing experience.

    The program provided me with an internship at the nuclear plant. For two years I got a first-hand experience working at the plant and learning the equipment - and I fell in love with it.

    It's a great working environment. Everyone at the plant is really friendly, and as an intern, I have a lot of mentors there and they are eager to teach and share their knowledge.

    Education has turned my life around and I now I am excited about my future. Despite the rough economy, I know we'll have to produce more electricity in the future when the market gets back to normal. I feel honored to be a part of that.

    Marcos Rodriguez is one of 22 students who graduated from Miami Dade College's Clean Energy Institute this summer. To learn more about the program, visit: http://www.fpl.com/community/learning/workplace.shtml or check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THJYuTcHe-Y&feature=uploademail. FPL is involved in a similar cooperative program with Indian River State College.

    Media Contact:
    FPL Media Line
    Florida Power & Light Company
    700 Universe Blvd.
    Juno Beach, FL 33408
    kristy.kennedy ( @ ) rbbpr dot com

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