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RCBC’s Workforce Development Institute recognizes WISE program graduates during national Careers in Energy Week

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Rowan College at Burlington County’s Workforce Development Institute, a national model of shared services among county and college resources, recognizes the first students to complete the Women in Sustainable Employment (WISE) program during national Careers in Energy Week, Oct. 12-18.

“The Women in Sustainable Employment program exposed women to rewarding careers in the utility field they may not have even considered,” said Rowan College at Burlington County President Paul Drayton. “One of our students who attended a WISE information session was hired on-the-spot by South Jersey Gas, so I considered it a success even before the first class began. This is the first in what will be a long line of successful job-training programs led by our innovative RCBC’s Workforce Development Institute.”

The 40-hour training course gave women the opportunity to pursue nontraditional employment opportunities available in energy and construction industries.

Director of Burlington County Human Services Anna Payanzo said, “Thanks to the strong partnerships between public and private entities, a window of opportunity has been opened to these women who are now prepared to seek careers in energy and fulfill a workforce demand in the utility industry.”

On Oct. 2, 29 women completed the program, which was supported by a partnership among the institute, Burlington County Workforce Development Board, PSEG, New Jersey American Water, South Jersey Gas, Atlantic City Electric and the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters’ Sisters in the Brotherhood.

At the completion ceremony, Mount Laurel Deputy Mayor Dennis Riley delivered a proclamation declaring Careers in Energy Week, which was started by the national Center for Energy Workforce Development to increase the public’s awareness about energy careers through a concerted nationwide effort. Deputy Mayor Riley encouraged residents to become familiar with the services and benefits of the career and technical education programs offered in the community and to support and participate in these programs to enhance their individual work skills and productivity.

One of the WISE graduates, Bernice O'Sullivan, of Delanco, said, “This program lets you know you are capable and do have relevant skills to be able to really do these jobs and also excel in them."

The program was so successful that the Center for Energy Workforce Development asked the organizers to participate in a best practices panel at its annual summit this November in Washington D.C. using the institute’s WISE program as a national model on attracting women to utility and construction careers.

Some of the careers covered in the WISE program included mechanic, plant operator, dispatcher and meterperson.

For more information on training opportunities through the college’s Workforce Development Institute, please visit rcbc.edu.