Skilled to Work: TVA working to boost its machinist workforce through an apprenticeship

Machining Apprentice Ivey Terry working in the Tennessee Valley Authority's Power Supply Shop in Colbert County. She is one of ten apprentices that are part of the first cohort that started in early 2019.
Machining Apprentice Ivey Terry working in the Tennessee Valley Authority's Power Supply Shop in Colbert County. She is one of ten apprentices that are part of the first cohort that started in early 2019.

The next cohort will start in January 2020 and a new group will be added every year thereafter.

Posted: Nov 29, 2019 9:26 AM

As the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) works to support a growing population in its coverage area, it launched a new apprenticeship program to help staff its Power Supply Shop. 

Ivey Terry, a recent graduate of the welding program at Northwest Shoals Community College (NW-SCC), is one of ten machinists who are part of the inaugural cohort.

"It's been very different because with a machinist, you’re dealing with thousandths. Being a welder, it’s oh, you’re in a 16th, you’re good. And so it’s very different. It's very challenging, more as a machinist. I really enjoy it," said Terry.

During the four-year apprenticeship, which began at the beginning of the year, students spend their days in the power shop and Mondays and Tuesdays in the machining classroom at the NW-SCC campus.

"We got the program set up on 1600 hours of OJT [on the job training] and they get 400 hours of classroom. So they’re working 40, 50, 60 hours a week, going to school two nights a week," said Wendell Dean, the apprenticeship coordinator.

The program is run in partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 65. Business Representative Keith McFarland said they launched the apprenticeship to address a growing need in the Tennessee Valley.

"Several years ago, we identified that there were some gaps with our ability to fill some positions that TVA and its partner contractors perform work all across the Tennessee Valley. So we had to come up with a way to ensure that we had good, qualified people to perform the work all across the 90,000 square mile region," said McFarland.

Power Shop Senior Manager Corey Saint said keeping the Power Supply Shop well staffed with machinists is crucial for the TVA.

"The Power Service Shop is basically the emergency room for the TVA. So as parts and components fail at the job sites, we have field crews that go out, take those components and send them to the Power Service Shop for refurbishment," said Saint.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL), machinists are the fourth most in-demand job both across Alabama and in the Tennessee Valley. On average, the job pays about $44,000 per year, according to the latest numbers.

John Greer said working as a TVA apprentice is giving him a chance to expand his skill set.

"With my old job, I was running CNC [computer numerical control] equipment. I didn’t have any manual machines and I was just looking to further my skills in the trade and learn all I could and be worth more," said Greer.

Meanwhile Terry said she is going to stick with the program, even though it has been challenging.

"I wanted to quit, and my mom was like, no, you can do it. And I want to be able to finish to prove to her that I can do it," said Terry.

The newest cohort of apprentices was signed on earlier this month. They will start in January 2020 and a new cohort will be added every year thereafter.

Huntsville
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Florence
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 33°
Fayetteville
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Scottsboro
Overcast
36° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 36°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 388252

Reported Deaths: 4781
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby49731687
Davidson44813429
Knox20269159
Rutherford18968169
Hamilton18210162
Williamson1209086
Sumner10566142
Out of TN900254
Wilson801684
Montgomery717286
Sullivan6979111
Washington6572116
Maury636472
Putnam614284
Blount608963
Bradley571637
Madison5602114
Sevier528735
Unassigned519025
Robertson404356
Tipton385839
Hamblen372462
Gibson339372
Greene335574
Dyer332652
Anderson323931
Coffee306043
Dickson305037
Carter298361
Bedford295734
Lawrence290237
McMinn281056
Obion278053
Cumberland272937
Roane255731
Warren251919
Jefferson245435
Loudon244320
Fayette236940
Monroe234146
Hardeman229538
Weakley227136
Franklin224538
Lauderdale213123
Hawkins213035
Wayne197610
Henderson195934
Trousdale192612
Macon190829
White188619
Rhea187836
Hardin186027
Carroll185336
Marshall185322
Lincoln177520
Cocke172030
Cheatham169617
Haywood168830
Campbell165324
Henry163321
Overton157736
Giles157649
Smith150920
Johnson147523
McNairy143734
Fentress126824
DeKalb124624
Hickman124619
Bledsoe12245
Lake11936
Marion118719
Crockett118428
Scott11737
Grainger108818
Chester106322
Decatur97413
Claiborne96410
Unicoi96026
Benton88016
Lewis81516
Cannon8104
Grundy80614
Morgan7996
Union7665
Humphreys7648
Jackson72510
Polk70915
Stewart63317
Houston60520
Sequatchie5845
Clay57119
Meigs52512
Perry50922
Moore4202
Pickett39814
Van Buren3872
Hancock1964

Community Events