Amarillo, TX - A quarter of Xcel Energy's employees will be eligible for retirement over the next five years. The company hopes those positions will be filled by high school graduates.
Xcel's apprenticeship program last four years, during that time participants learn a specific trait of their choosing and get paid to do so.
Spokesman for Xcel Energy, Wes Reeves, said a student can make $52,000 their first year of the apprenticeship. He said the program also includes vacations, benefits, and tuition reimbursement if students wish to attend college.
Students from Caprock and Palo Duro High Schools attended Xcel's apprenticeship day event, where they learned all about the program. Reeves said many high school graduates will replace those retiring.
He said Xcel recruits high school graduates because we need to keep our workman in our area. "We need to keep our workforce here, we don't need to export our young people out," Reeves said. "So that's the reason we're talking to these students at the high school level."
Glenda Romero, a Senior at Palo Duro High School said she is considering the apprenticeship. "I think there is a lot of good opportunities for me here like I'm not sure about which field I can go to I go choose one see if I like it if not then transfer to a different one and find out which one is more for me," Romero said.
Reeves said many of positions opening are for line workers but other positions will be open as well. The demand for new workers will continue to increase over the next 10 years to half of Xcel's employees.