International Society of Automation News Release
Contact: Bernard H. Penney
Georgia Power Opens New Training Center Featuring ISA's Portable Training Units
Research Triangle Park, NC (30 March 2009) – Earlier this year, Georgia Power opened a brand new $2 million training facility on the campus of Coosa Valley Technical College in Rockmart, Georgia. The Georgia Power Technical Education Center is the result of a partnership between utility provider Georgia Power, parent company Southern Company, Coosa Valley Technical College, and equipment and technology providers, including ISA, whose portable training units are featured in the center.
The center will provide continuing education for Georgia Power and Southern Company employees and industrial training for Coosa Valley Technical College students, who have the opportunity to train and apply for Southern Company positions. Areas of instruction covered by the new training center include an electrical apprentice program, a mechanical apprentice program, instrumentation and controls, and the auxiliary equipment operator training program.
The facility includes a Plant Bowen Simulator room, a computer lab, an electrical lab, and other Georgia Power training rooms. Georgia Power invested $1.2 million to modify two buildings at Coosa Valley Technical College and to purchase training equipment. In addition, 27 of Southern Company's vendors contributed equipment with an approximate value of $840,000.
The center is a state-of-the-art training facility where employees of Georgia Power's electric generating plants can learn through real world simulations with the same kind of equipment and software used in their jobs.
The facility boasts a power generating simulator, allowing students and current employees to diagnose and fix problems created by instructors. The computer and electrical labs also replicate several different work environments and provide a practical training approach for the students. ISA's portable training units, which are featured as part of the instrumentation and controls lab, are designed from a practical point of view to provide hands-on instrumentation training to automation professionals.
ISA instructors, students, volunteer leaders, suppliers, and academia developed the concept for the portable trainers in 2007. The units allow students to simulate and solve real world challenges in basic process variables such as temperature, pressure, flow, and level. The trainers include a Smart Thermocouple Transmitter, an Analog Thermocouple Transmitter, a Smart RTD Transmitter, a Differential Pressure Transmitter, an I/P transducer, a final control element, a PID controller, real world terminations, and pneumatics with internal distribution.
In addition to ISA, 27 major suppliers and industry leaders have donated equipment to the center.
"ISA is proud to be part of such a state-of-the-art training facility," said ISA Director of Education, Certification, and Convention Services Dale Lee. "Southern Company has proven its commitment to the training and development of its workforce through the creation of this center. A company is only as strong as its training program in an industry that changes and shifts as often as the utility industry, and Southern Company is making a remarkable investment in a strong future through this important initiative."
"Our power plants at Southern Company have a low percentage of unavailability – 1 ½ to 2 percent – which is superior to anyone else in the industry. When people ask us how we manage to keep our downtime so low, we tell them that the secret is a dedicated investment in employee training," said Jerry Stewart, chief production officer for Southern Company, at the January dedication ceremony of the facility. "Other utilities have the same equipment and software that we have, but they don't have our employees. You only have superior employees when you're dedicated to training."
In addition to Georgia Power, Southern Company's holdings include Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, and Gulf Power. For more information about Southern Company, visit www.southerncompany.com. For more information about ISA or ISA's training programs, visit www.isa.org or call +1 919 549-8411.
ISA portable trainers are featured in the Georgia Power/Southern Company Technical Training Center.
Dr. Craig McDaniel, President of Coosa Valley Technical College (left), and Doug Jones, Southern Company Generation Senior Vice President (right), address the crowd during the opening of the new training center.
Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in North America. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).
About Southern Company
With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for nine consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at www.southerncompany.com.
About Coosa Valley Technical College
Coosa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is a member of Georgia's system of technical colleges that operate under the Technical College System of Georgia and an institution of higher learning that provides occupational education, skills training, and workforce development to support the educational, economic, and community development of Floyd, Gordon, and Polk counties. CVTC accomplishes its mission by providing quality technical and related academic education, customized business and industry training, continuing education, and adult education services that meet the workforce needs of area citizens, communities, and companies.