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JEA Co-Op Class of 2017
College students are gaining hands-on experience through the JEA Summer Co-Op Program. The Co-Ops at JEA can see what post-graduate life is like in a professional work environment.
“This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often and I don’t want to waste one bit of it,” said Nigel, an electrical engineering student at the University of Florida who is gaining that experience while working in Distribution Maintenance.
The program accepted 31 students from 12 different schools. Seven of those participants have returned to the program.
Michael, an environmental engineering student at the University of Florida, found out about JEA’s Co-Op Program through a friend and roommate at the University of Florida. This is his second summer with JEA. He chose this Co-Op for the ability to work alongside engineers, contractors, project managers, and inspectors.
“Always working with JEA employees is what’s so great about the program,” Michael said. “Rather than doing typical intern busy work, I look forward to an educational and exciting summer.”
The students selected for the program learn from many professionals in their field of study as well as other departments.
Precious is studying biomedical engineering at Jacksonville University. The head of the engineering department at the university sent an email with the program’s information and Precious applied the same day. She liked the diversity of science-related fields at JEA so she could try different things and see what she likes.
“The summer Co-Op experience was better than what I expected,” said Precious. She had the opportunity to work in the laboratory services department. “I got to work with some really fantastic people that have helped me become a better employee and person overall. I truly appreciate being given the opportunity to have different experiences and excel in a work environment.”
Stuart is studying mechanical engineering at the University of North Florida. He has returned to the summer Co-Op program for the second year. He has been working on a project this summer involving new electrically driven motors while working in the maintenance planning department. He researched the motors and then met with engineers and field technicians to figure out what preventative maintenance should be done, and to figure out if it had any past issues. Stuart then looked over the company’s inventory of spare parts for the new electric motors, and made an engineering recommendation as to which spare parts should be kept on hand.
“As a returning Co-Op, I had high expectations for my time (at JEA), and JEA exceeded them,” Stuart said. “I’ve been able to work alongside plant engineers that have been working for JEA longer than I’ve been alive. In a few short months, because of their mentorship, I have gained a tremendous amount of real-world knowledge of how power plants work.”
The Co-Op participants also take part in a community service project, have the opportunity to tour JEA facilities, and participate in training classes.
Marissa is a biomedical engineering student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She chose the Co-Op program because she wanted to have the opportunity to see how engineering is used in the real world as well as to learn about other engineering and science disciplines.
“I was attracted to the community service and general education side of the Co-Op Program because we get to break out of our normal jobs and become more well-rounded students and people,” Marissa said.
Marissa is interested in conducting research when she graduates and received the opportunity to work with professionals at JEA’s Fuels Laboratory and the Main Street Laboratory.
“My Co-Op experience is not what I expected - it is way better,” Marissa said. “I never thought I would have the chance to walk around and look inside a power plant, or ride on a boat all day to collect samples in the river, or measure the metals inside coal samples by shooting X-rays through them. I did not know exactly what to expect when I found out I would be working in a lab, but I never imagined it would be this fun.”
Marissa said she will bring what she learned about equipment and procedures back to class and into her life after graduation.
Other Co-Ops are also taking the experience and education learned during the 12-week program at JEA to build the foundation for a successful career.
“The summer Co-Op exceeded my expectations for what I would learn and pick up as an engineering student,” said Dalton, a civil engineering student at the University of Florida. He spent the summer with Water/Wastewater Reuse Delivery and worked with senior engineers, draftsmen, and field technicians.
“The ability to take foundational engineering principles taught in school and see how they are applied was an eye-opener, and will serve me greatly as someone who is pursuing a career in civil engineering,” Dalton said.
Want to find out what it takes to become a JEA Co-Op and how an internship at JEA can help build your career?