2011-07-23 / News

Teacher shadows AEP employees

By Cara Ettenhofer

HEBRON – It was the first full week of summer break, but I was not sitting poolside enjoying a romance novel and an umbrella drink. Instead, I spent the week of June 14-18 at the Newark Service Center of American Electric Power learning about their business practices and workplace skills so I can pass this information along to my eight-year-old students.

On more than one occasion, I was asked if I was the boss, either supervising or evaluating one of the employees that I was shadowing. A small joke was even made that I was making an episode of the CBS television show Undercover Boss (my apologies to the actual Chairman and CEO of AEP, Michael Morris).

Although I am a third grade teacher at Lakewood Local Schools, my role this week was much like that of an ambassador for the Summer Teacher Externship Program or STEP Program offered to teachers of Licking County Schools and local businesses. Each day I shadowed an essential associate of the AEP team. I gained knowledge in the fields of work scheduling, fleet/ mechanics, engineering, techni cian work, telecommunications, right-of-way, material services, property claims, and service truck.

My favorite time was spent with the service truck. Watching employee Dean Johnson restore power, change a street light or bulb, or take down a wire, amazed me and the fact that he was working with live electric cables gave me greater awareness for the harm’s way that people in his career face on a daily basis to give us the amenities of electric in our homes or businesses.

My adventure in this business world placement will always be remembered. I hope to be able to share with my students these experiences and elaborate the important talking points of safety, conservation, team work/problem solving, career choices, recycling, alternative energy sources, communication, and telecommunications that I learned through this externship. I must say, it was a great start to my summer break!

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