NGS Power Plant Fundamental School considered one of the best in energy industry
LECHEE, ARIZONA – The Navajo Generating Station will soon be hiring.
NGS is now seeking qualified applicants for its seven-week-long Power Plant Fundamentals School, the first step to becoming a full-time entry-level NGS employee.
The application period is now open until March 14.
Joseph Claw from Chilchinbeto graduated from the Power Plant Fundamentals School in July 2012. “It definitely helped that I was self-motivated,” he said. This month he is helping with the 2014 Minor Overhaul of Unit One. George Hardeen Photo
Also known as the Operations & Maintenance 1 School, NGS wants bright, ambitious and eager men and women to apply. Applicants need to be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate, have a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a background check.
Within the last 10 years, one of the youngest applicants was 19 and today is a control room operator. Others range from veterans to college graduates with experience in other fields.
The common trait among successful candidates is dedication, focus and the ability to learn a lot of required material within a short period of time.
“Completing the O&M 1 School carries with it a certain respect here at NGS,” said NGS Senior Human Resources Technician Linda Dawavendewa. “It lends to a safer, knowledgeable employee and definitely leads to a career at SRP through other training programs including the SRP Apprenticeship Program.”
Successful completion of the O&M 1 School is required training to continue employment at NGS. The class is tough and has been equated to a two-year college course packed into two intense months.
Course work involves 10 hours a day of classroom lectures and fieldwork. Testing is weekly.
The course outline alone is 50 pages long. It includes sections on every aspect of the power plant’s parts, equipment, procedures, operations and safety; from electron theory to the railroad that delivers coal, from physics to the properties of superheated steam, from the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902 to the history of why NGS was built where it is on the Navajo Nation.
Graduates find that the course leads to a meaningful career with Salt River Project, operator of NGS and a premier provider of electricity.
The youngest member of a recent class, Myron Deel of Kaibeto who was 20 when he applied, said he heard about the school from an ad.
“I read about it in the newspaper, the Navajo Times, and my parents told me I should give it a shot,” said Deel, now an employee in the Maintenance Department.
Joseph Claw, a 34-year-old former Marine from Chilchinbeto, said he felt driven to complete the course.
“It definitely helped that I was self-motivated,” he said. “Every one of us was self-motivated, otherwise we wouldn’t be here right now.”
Omar Moreno of Tucson said it took five years to follow his father-in-law’s advice to apply to the school. He said because he had a job at a car dealership, he felt no need to try. Then the economy bottomed out, he said.
“I was a mechanic before and it’s real unstable out there,” he said. “You can sit at the shop for 10 hours and only make two hours worth of work.”
Like the other graduates with families, Moreno says he’s relieved to have completed the school, set himself up for a career, and prepared the path for his family of five for a better life.
Graduates are assigned to work in the Operations, Maintenance or Heavy equipment/Railroad department. Even after graduation, training continues for another five weeks with Operations School, O&M I training, Smith Driving School and other regulatory training.
Course applicants with training through the military, trade school or college – whether two year or four year programs – are usually well-prepared to successfully complete the challenging school. Mechanical, electrical, maintenance and/or construction experience is often helpful but not necessary.
SRP accepts resumes and applications only electronically. The online system is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The recruitment process begins by applying online at www.srpnet.com/careers; O&M Specialist I, Requisition N-6965, 24 positions. Application period closes March 14.
Applications will be reviewed and a test invitation and schedule will be sent to the applicant. Testing ends on March 28.
Applicants must pass both the O&M aptitude test and the physical agility test.