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Alumni return to help with Powerline Orientation

MARSHALLTOWN – Two Marshalltown Community College May 2021 Powerline alumni returned this past week to assist with the incoming class orientation along with Doug Curren, Powerline Technician Faculty. Twenty-eight students participated in the orientation.

Curren, in just his second year at MCC, requested the help of some of his former students from the Electric Utilities they are currently employed with. “I could feel the enthusiasm from the advisors to participate. It was greatly appreciated and I know that the utilities really appreciate what the two students bring.”

Electric Utilities are part of the advisory board or hopefully a future part of the advisory board that MCC is a member of. “I view it as a team effort to prepare the students for employment with the utilities and start the apprenticeship process with them,” commented Curren.

Mary Hovenga is currently working as a Step One Line Apprentice at Alliant Energy and was hired before she has finished at MCC. Ethan Ronnebaum is an Apprentice Intern at Consumers Energy and was hired in mid-July.

Hovenga enjoyed assisting Curren with the students, “I liked the idea of coming to the orientation to see how much the students improve by the end of the program.” During her own time at MCC, she felt that the Powerline program prepared her for her position at Alliant. “It really helped me become familiar with the tools that I use and also to help me get in the mindset of the type of work that I would be doing.”

“Overall the classes helped me make the transition easier from college into my job,” commented Hovenga.

The fact that Curren asked him to return to help was all that Ronnebaum needed to return to MCC. “Doug makes the program. Under his guidance in just a year, I can see how much it is improving. There is a lot of potential and it’s going to continue to improve. MCC’s program really is a blessing.”

Ronnebaum used the Last-Dollar Scholarship funding as well as PACE when he was attending MCC. When asked how this helped him he said, “I came out of MCC not owing any money. The PACE program helped pay for my gas in traveling from Cedar Rapids. It was a great help.”

The presence of both Hovenga and Ronnebaum was appreciated by Curren and he feels the students really benefited from having them participate in orientation.

“They walked and talked success through the whole education process. Both students agreed enthusiastically to participate in training before I contacted their employers. They bring a fresh and young perspective on training. It was fun to sit down and discuss the day’s schedule, get their ideas and implement the ideas in training. It was great for the new students to see two really good people at work,” said Curren. “With the number of new students, it was great that we were able to keep them all involved and busy. I really enjoyed working with Mary and Ethan as co-workers. They graduated as students and came back as friends. I look forward to following their careers and watching them grow.”

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