Santee Cooper Introduces 2008 Power Associates

September 3, 2008

MONCKS CORNER, SC – August 30, 2008 – Santee Cooper has selected six 2008 high school graduates to participate in its Power Associates technical-career scholarship program. Now in its second year, the Power Associates program was chartered to prepare students for rewarding technical careers in electric utility operations, as well as to provide Santee Cooper with a skilled and diverse pool of prospective employees amid an industry-wide shortage of qualified candidates.

Participants in the Power Associates program take courses at Trident Technical College in pursuit of an associate degree in Occupational Technology. Simultaneously, they gain valuable experience while working in several areas at Santee Cooper’s generating stations in Moncks Corner and Pineville.

The students selected this year for the Power Associates program are Dwayne “Alan” Belk and Stephon Cain of Berkeley High School, James “Will” Ford of Hanahan High School, Ronald Gatlin Jr. of Timberland High School, Alciesper “Alfie” Pineda of Goose Creek High School and Jennifer Taylor of Stratford High School.

“The Power Associates Committee was so impressed by this year’s candidates that it awarded six scholarships instead of four,” said Nicole Wren, coordinator of the program.  “That’s an encouraging trend as word continues to spread among students, faculty and parents about this program.”

Upon piloting the program last year, Santee Cooper collaborated with Trident Technical College to develop a customized two-year curriculum that provides a broad foundation necessary to succeed in a career as an Auxiliary Operator, an Electrical and Instrumentation Technician or a Power Plant Mechanic.

“Trident Technical College is always willing to work with local industries in developing a curriculum to fit their specific training needs,” says John Autrey, TTC director of apprenticeship programs. “We think programs such as Santee Cooper’s Power Associates are win-win-win: Win for the students in gaining a college education and the opportunity for meaningful employment, win for Santee Cooper in gaining well-trained and qualified workers, and win for Trident Technical College in serving both our students and our local industries.” 

The 2007 Power Associates — Todd Lane, Brenda Lee, Altonio Mustapher and Jared Sherrow — have completed their first year of the program and are doing well.

“This is a very rigorous program. The students are taking a full course load and working up to 20 hours each week at a generating station,” said Dean Creed, principal engineer and chairman of the Power Associates Committee. “They are performing admirably.”

This fall, the program is expanding to Horry-Georgetown Technical College to support anticipated hiring needs at Santee Cooper generating stations in Conway and Georgetown.

“As educators, we strive to make the connection for students between their performance in school and the opportunities that await them upon graduation,” says Berkeley County School District’s Work Based Learning Coordinator Gwen W. Scarborough. “Santee Cooper understands the importance of enabling students to make that connection.”

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility and the state’s largest power producer, supplying electricity to more than 162,000 retail customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties, as well as to 29 large industrial facilities, the cities of Bamberg and Georgetown, and the Charleston Air Force Base. Santee Cooper also generates the power distributed by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives to more than 685,000 customers in all 46 counties. Approximately 2 million South Carolinians receive their power directly or indirectly from Santee Cooper. The utility also provides water to 137,000 consumers in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and the town of Santee. For more information, visit For information on how Santee Cooper lives green and how you can go green, visit