PBPN Youth Workers Visit Energy Center to Learn About Careers

July 16, 2014 –

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On the far left is Geoff Greene, Operations Superintendent with Westar’s Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC) taking PBPN summer youth workers on a tour of the campus.


MAYETTA: Last Monday 16 summer youth workers took a field trip to Westar’s Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC) in St. Marys, Kan. to learn about careers in the electric energy industry. While there students got to see demonstrations of what linemen, power plant operators and instrument and control technicians do and to also learn about corporate office positions and how electric energy is produced.

High school students in this summer’s youth worker program were the beneficiaries of the new workforce development program called Electrify Your Future-PBP Nation. The program was created through a partnership between the Prairie Band Potawatomi (PBP) Nation and Westar’s JEC. The program was also offered to PBP students in the first youth worker session last June.

Tribal Council Treasurer Hattie Mitchell was instrumental in organizing the partnership with Westar. “Electrify Your Future is a great addition to the Summer Youth Work program,” she said. “Our youth are showing an interest in entering the electric utility industry and we look forward to their continuing to optimize their future with Westar.”

In addition to Mitchell, Kristina Matsapto and Stephanie Jim from the PBPN Education Department and Joseph Matsapto, a PBPN parent, helped guide the students on the tour along with several JEC employees.

Below are some photos from Monday’s tour:

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John Bridson, vice president of general operations for JEC, gave welcoming remarks to the students in the JEC auditorium.

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The center is located north of St. Marys, Kan. and has more than 260 employees.

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Patrick Woods, who works in the Human Resources Department, gave the opening presentation and is photographed with Tribal Council Treasurer Hattie Mitchell.

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A lineman demonstration was part of the tour.

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Students also got to operate some of the instruments inside the center and were supervised by Kirk Behymer, a senior trainer in the control room. 

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Phil Shaffer, director of engineering at JEC, conducted the tour inside the energy center.

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The PBPN group was photographed with Woods and Greene at the end of the event. 

For more details on the summer youth program’s visit to the Jeffrey Energy Center go to: