The Power Systems Institute (PSI), a FirstEnergy Corp. program to train the next generation of dedicated line and substation workers, is awarding up to 50 scholarships in 2021 to underrepresented candidates who reside in the company’s service area in support of the company’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts.
The scholarships are the first offered under the FirstEnergy PSI Equal Access Scholarship Program, a D&I initiative encouraging men and women from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to pursue learning a skilled craft in the PSI program.
The FirstEnergy PSI Equal Access Scholarship Program provides assistance with living expenses to students attending the 21-month PSI program. The scholarship is offered to diverse students who traditionally have been underrepresented in the skilled craft trades, including Black or African American, Native American or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, people of two or more races; Hispanic or Latino ethnicity and female candidates.
This year, up to 50 scholarships are being awarded across FirstEnergy’s 10 operating companies. A diverse panel will review 2021 PSI program applications and determine recipients. The $1,000 per month scholarship, not to exceed $21,000 over the duration of the program, will be distributed quarterly to students who remain active in PSI.
The scholarship can be used to offset housing, transportation and other living expenses during participation in the PSI program. Scholarship applications for the 2022 program year will become available to candidates this fall.
“FirstEnergy understands and supports the value of PSI students from diverse cultures and various ethnic backgrounds,” said Dave Karafa, Vice President of Distribution Support for FirstEnergy. “FirstEnergy is committed to, and benefits from, the full and equitable participation of a diverse community. The program’s mission is to provide these students with the opportunity to attain their professional goals while advancing the utility industry.”
FirstEnergy originally introduced PSI in 2000 to help replace retiring line and substation workers. The PSI program combines classroom learning with hands-on training. Programs were established with colleges throughout the company’s six-state service area. Program openings are limited, and applicants will be assessed through a competitive, multi-step process. For qualified students, FirstEnergy pays tuition, required books and lab fees. Graduates of the program receive an Associate of Technical Studies degree with a focus on electric utility technology.
FirstEnergy’s 10 electric distribution companies serveg customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.