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Clinton Power Station employees get degrees with HCC customized program

May 16, 2022

The first group of students in a customized degree program at Heartland Community College for employees of Constellation’s Clinton Power Station have graduated. 

In August of 2018, Heartland Community College formalized an agreement to offer customized programs to provide Constellation’s (formerly Exelon) employees with a pathway to an Associate in Applied Science (AAS), Industrial Technology degree and develop in their careers at the carbon-free nuclear power plant. 

The Heartland degree program structure was designed to be flexible with the employees’ schedules, which varied based upon their work area. With the unique demands of employment at Clinton Power Station, many employees could not participate in the traditional college schedule. 

The program began in the Spring 2019 semester, but was delayed by the pandemic during the 2019-2020 academic year. Adjustments were made to the instructional schedule and classes were held the last couple years at the power plant, on Heartland’s Normal campus, and online. 

“What made this program different was in our response to student availability,” said Chris Miller, Heartland Industrial Technology instructor. “We provided flexible times for courses and had open lab times outside of the regular scheduled times. For example, security personnel from Constellation are on an entirely different schedule than other departments. The best part of this cohort is how motivated and responsive the students were. They wanted to be here and they made it through challenging materials and the twists and turns of the schedule.”  

As part of the partnership, Constellation employees were eligible for full tuition and textbook reimbursement from their employer.  

 Students graduating from the program range in service at Constellation from four to fourteen years. The group graduating this May includes Crystal Brinkley, Cale Downs, Chad Emery and Kelly Trummel. 

“The Heartland program has been invaluable in helping our employees take control of their careers by investing in their development,” said Tom Chalmers, Site Vice President of Clinton Power Station. “Heartland’s Industrial Technology AAS Degree gives them the educational courses and knowledge needed to advance into roles such as electrical maintenance and plant equipment operator. We are proud of their achievement and look forward to seeing how they succeed in the year to come.” 

Students in the program pursue the Industrial Technology AAS, Industrial Technology Certificate, Electronic Skills Certificate, Renewable Energy Skills Certificate and Industrial Maintenance Skills Certificate. 

Heartland Community College celebrated this year’s graduates at a commencement ceremony held on May 13, 2022 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

Written by: Steve Fast