The Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology (EUSRT) program provides students the skills to maintain high voltage equipment and protective systems for the electric utility transmission system. Graduates of the two-year program receive an Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology AAS degree and qualify for technician jobs in the electric utility industry and industrial power facilities. Established in partnership with Duke Energy, the EUSRT program at RCC is the first of its kind in the state of North Carolina and only offered at a handful of colleges nationwide. A business advisory committee (composed of Duke Energy, Doble Engineering, North American Substation Services, Virginia Dominion Power and SPX Waukesha) continues to guide the program.
The EUSRT program was first conceived of in 2010, and the first students enrolled in fall 2011. The program and related learning opportunities have expanded since. A paid internship program was begun in summer 2013 with nine students and expanded to 30 students in summer 2014. An umbrella of education and training opportunities now exists under the EUSRT program, with the two-year program allowing for a "staircase" of Continuing Education training down to one-day workshops. For example, SPX conducted company-wide training on confined-space safety and transformer design and operation through RCC.
Innovation or Best Practice
- The evolution of the program, driven by business demand, enables the program to be relevant and the students to be rewarded with quick job offers and good pay. Students obtaining jobs in the industry earn starting salaries of $50,000-$70,000 a year.
- The program's relevance to industry translates into support for the program, e.g., a donation of $50,000 from Progress Energy in January 2013 (prior to merger with Duke Energy) and Duke Energy's sponsorship of 30 paid internships in 2014 and donations of training equipment.
- The EUSRT program has attracted an eclectic mix of students, ranging from displaced manufacturing workers to recent university graduates, and RCC has touted the success of its nontraditional technical students (e.g., a university social science graduate and a female student).
Workforce Learning Summit Presenter
Dr. Dale McInnis, President, Richmond Community College
- EUSRT program description
- RCC news: "RCC Graduate Builds Career in Power Industry" (Whitney Perkins)
- RCC news: "EUSRT Grad Receives Academic Excellence Award" (Scot Shields)