CHICAGO HEIGHTS–(ENEWSPF)–May 16, 2014. In 2012, Prairie State College (PSC) student Kurt Stremming was moving to a new city and getting married in less than a year. He had an associate degree and certificate in computer programming from Ivy Tech Community College, but he just couldn’t find a job.
Stremming’s then bride to be, Sylvia, had been an employee at PSC for more than a year. When she heard about the ArcelorMittal partnership with PSC through the Steelworkers for the Future program, she knew they had found a solution. It just took a little convincing. Patty Zuccarello, interim dean of health and industrial technology, gave Stremming the final push he needed by telling him about the program and the opportunities that would come once he enrolled. And, because he had so many credits from his prior degree that he transferred to PSC, he was able to take a fast track through the program and finish in less than two years.
Stremming, who had worked as an electrician in the Navy from 2004 to 2006, already had the background necessary to successfully complete the industrial electricity program at PSC.
While Stremming said he knew the basic principles of electricity from his work in the Navy, the things he learned about industrial electricity through the PSC program was all new information.
“The program is really fast paced,” he said. “While the classroom material is really helpful, it has been the hands-on experience I’ve gotten because of the PSC program that has made me ready to start a career in the field.”
Among his hands-on experiences was being selected for two semesters as a paid intern with ArcelorMittal. As an intern last summer, Stremming was responsible for conduit running, testing equipment, and installing new equipment at a factory in Burns Harbor, Ind. During the fall 2013 semester, he worked on programmable logic controller (PLC) programming. He says his ideal job would be to do more in the PLC programming area.
“That is the one thing in electricity that uses both of my degrees,” he said. “Ideally, I would be able to use all parts of my education in my career.”
Stremming said the PSC program also gave him the connections he needed to succeed.
“In addition to the ArcelorMittal partnership giving me the internship opportunities I had, Professor (Georgia) Karras is always introducing us to people and making us aware of job opportunities,” he said.
Most recently, Stremming has been working part time with Motions Industries in Countryside, Ill., designing and wiring control panels for industry.
Stremming says that through the classroom learning, hands-on training, and networking opportunities he’s had since starting the program, he is now facing several potential job offers after graduation. He added that the experience has even made him consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in the future.
“My priority right now is getting a full-time job, but once I am settled in with a company, I may want to go back to school to learn even more,” he said.
Stremming is graduating magna cum laude with his Associate in Applied Science degree and a certificate in industrial electricity from PSC during the 55th Annual Commencement Ceremonies being held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 17. More than 400 students will graduate from PSC with associate degrees and certificates, and approximately 300 graduates will participate in the ceremony. For more information about PSC’s commencement ceremony, contact the Office of Student Affairs at (708) 709-3507.
The Steelworkers for the Future program is a partnership between ArcelorMittal and PSC. It is a 2.5 year associate degree program that prepares industrial technology students for a career in steelmaking through classroom learning and hands-on training. Students in the program have the chance to apply for a paid internship, gaining valuable experience while offsetting tuition costs; the opportunity to become a part of a highly skilled, well-paid, tech-savvy, and in-demand workforce; and learn how to install, maintain, and repair sophisticated equipment in order to satisfy customers’ needs. For more information, contact Zuccarello at (708) 709-2947 or email [email protected].