Spire and Ranken Technical College announced a partnership to create clearer pathways to careers in the natural gas industry — the Spire Cooperative Education Program at Ranken. The co-op is a two-year program that provides Ranken students with on-the-job experience and mentoring from Spire field operations professionals while they complete an HVAC associate’s degree.
With increasing attrition in the skilled labor workforce, both organizations hope the program will draw more people to the natural gas industry.
“The No. 1 impediment of economic growth in this state, this region, this nation, is the inability to fill the skilled labor, technical workforce,” Stan Shoun, Ranken CEO, said during the program’s kick-off event at Spire’s downtown St. Louis office. “Every company we [Ranken] engage would like to bring in more work if they could just find the workforce.”
Five students signed offer letters to join the Spire Co-op Education Program at Ranken: Brandon Bowen (Imperial, MO); Eli Burrus (Fenton, MO); Devin Chaudoin (Wrights, IL); Robert Rehmeier (Ballwin, MO): and Christopher Rieckenberg (Coulterville, IL).
During today’s event, Missouri Sen. Andrew Koenig, Missouri Rep. Dan Shaul, and Missouri Rep. Shamed Dogan presented Spire and Ranken with resolutions in recognition of their commitment to workforce development. Education Liaison Barbara Fraser presented official letters from the St. Louis County Executive’s office.
“By emulating the success of similar programs developed by Enterprise and Emerson, we’ve created a dual-track program that builds on both classroom learning and on-the-job training,” said Tim Goodson, Spire’s vice president for Missouri field operations. “We’re excited about this partnership with Ranken because we’re confident that, together, we’ve designed an experience that readies people for employment, and, from Day One after completing the program, provides them with the skills they need to succeed as high-quality technicians in the natural gas industry.” “
Bowen said, “Once I heard about the program, I thought it would provide me with good work experience to expand my education. There is a high demand for this trade, and I find the work enjoyable.”
Photo Above: (L to R) MO Rep. Dan Shaul, MO Sen. Andrew Koenig, MO Rep. Shamed Dogan join the first group admitted to the Spire Co-op Program at Ranken, Ranken CEO Stan Shoun (center), Spire MO Field Operations VP Tim Goodson, St. Louis County Executive Office Education Liaison Barbara Fraser, and Spire COO Steve Lindsey on stage at the program’s kick-off event.
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