TC Energy Invests in preparing skilled workforce at JJC

Courtesy photo
JOLIET JUNIOR COLLEGE recently recognized support TC Energy has provided to its Operations Engineering and Technician (OET) program including a $250,000 donation. Participating in the event were (from left, row one): Loren Locher and Scott Castleman, of TC Energy; JJC Foundation president Jennifer Howard; JJC president Dr. Judy Mitchell; Amy Murphy, dean of applied arts, workforce education and training at JJC, and Senator Pat McGuire. Standing in row two are: Representative John Connor; James Prescott, of TC Energy; Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin; Senator Sue Rezin; Trevence Mitchell, of TC Energy, and Aisha Malovski, a JJC OTE graduate and employee of TC Energy.

Joliet Junior College recently held a partnership spotlight event highlighting TC Energy, and its contributions to the Operations Engineering and Technician (OET) program.
TC Energy donated $250,000 to the OET program on Thursday, June 20, at JJC’s Main Campus. Representatives from JJC, TC Energy, state legislators as well as state and local organizations came together to celebrate this partnership between education and industry.
Amy Murphy, JJC dean of applied arts, workforce education and training said, “TC Energy has been an outstanding partner, not only by providing financial assistance to ensure we have state-of-the-art equipment, but TC Energy commits to educating our students by coming to the introductory course and teaching a topic and sharing how the subject matter applies to their industry.”
Murphy added, “This is another great example of how our partners commit to the success of the program.”
Murphy discussed the OET curriculum and how it’s modeled after a workplace environment.
“Not only does the program provide the technical skills needed to fulfill operator and maintenance technician roles, but it has incorporated many soft skills that employers want and need,” Murphy said.
Some of the soft skills include clocking in and out of class, a dress code, wearing identification throughout the program and strict attendance requirements.
Scott Castleman, TC Energy manager public affairs, US-West discussed the benefits of having a program that prepares a skilled workforce.
“We currently operate energy infrastructure in 37 states across the U.S. and that includes 900 miles of pipeline right here in Illinois, along with various offices and facilities,” Castleman said. “We couldn’t fulfill our goal of safe and reliable operations without a strong employee base. Programs like this help us fulfill that promise.”
Castleman explained that the OET program prepares students to hit the ground running with the skills they need after graduation. He mentioned recent OET graduate and TC Energy employee Aisha Malovski as a prime example.
Malovski, a May 2019 graduate of the OET program, is an electrical instrumentation and controls technician within TC Energy’s Morris, IL plant. Aisha, of Diamond and a graduate of Coal City High School, shared her story and the path that led her to a career at TC Energy.
She talked about how even though she knew this was something she wanted to pursue, she was a little apprehensive and hesitant as the only female student in her cohort. However, she explained that the JJC professors were very knowledgeable and made her feel at ease.
“Thanks to the great JJC professors, I was always encouraged to ask questions and they made sure to take time to ensure that I understood the lessons,” she said.
Malovski also described the summer internship as a real-world experience that provided her with valuable lessons to complement what she learned in the classroom.
“Overall the OET program gave me the job readiness skills to land the job at TC Energy.” She is thankful for the opportunity and excited to watch how the OET program continues to evolve.
“I look forward to seeing the program grow and help others reach their dreams like it did for me.”
Illinois State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris) also shared her sentiments about providing students with an opportunity to train locally for a career instead of having to travel outside the JJC district.
The OET program at JJC provides students with an opportunity to train for a rewarding career in the petrochemical, nuclear or manufacturing industry. All of these industries are experiencing tremendous growth as well as a retiring workforce which means that employers are in need of more skilled workers. Students are able to train locally for well-paying and stable careers that are available right here in their local communities.
The OET program, which began in fall 2015, has two associate degree tracks available: Operations engineer and operations technician. This is a closed-track program where students attend classes as a cohort. They must apply and be accepted into the program. The OET program will start its fifth year this August and has a 100 percentage completion and employment rate with graduates earning an average base salary of $72,000.
Corporate partnerships and generous contributions from companies such as TC Energy, ensure the viability and sustainability of the OET program.
JJC president Dr. Judy Mitchell said, “TC Energy has been an integral partner in supporting the development and success of our OET program – a program that leads the industry and our students directly to careers in the petrochemical, nuclear and manufacturing industry.”
For more information about the Operations Engineering and Technician program,visit