PSC Commissioner encourages students to consider utility industry

Published 6:38 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

From engineers to computer scientists, security personnel and even secretaries and accountants, the utility business encompasses much more than just the journeyman out working on the power lines.

That was Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown’s message to Vicksburg Warren School District students participating in the Career Technical program during a talk at Hinds Community College Vicksburg campus Thursday.

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Brown encouraged the students to consider the utility industry when looking at career fields and to look at all the different avenues available within the field.

“I would guess most of what you know about utilities is you see somebody up on what you call a telephone pole or a power pole or maybe you see somebody putting fiber in the ground and say that’s pretty boring stuff,” Brown said. “You are going to hear today that it is not boring. It is a great opportunity for people to build a life for themselves.”

Brown also suggested that students take into account what it means to have a career and not just a job and to find something they want to do for the next 10 and even 50 years.

“One of the most important things I can tell you having had a career is find something you like to do, something you find is interesting, something that is going to be changing over time,” Brown said. “The utility business is one of those careers. There are lots of things going on behind the scenes. It is not just that person up on the pole.”

Brown was joined at Hinds by an engineer from Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant and a regulator from Entergy Mississippi, but he suggested students look not just at power, but also telephone, cable and all parts of the utility sector.

“They’ve got lot of good jobs, they pay well, they have lots of good careers,” Brown said. “When you start thinking of a career, not just a job, and what you want to do in the long term, I hope you look at the utility business.”

Brown talked to all of the district’s CTE students throughout the day, and Jennifer Normand, the program’s counselor, said the goal was to show students all the opportunities available to them.

“They are letting us know about possible job opportunities for our kids that might not be going to a four year and are wanting to go into the work force or a two year program,” Normand said. “It is not just engineers that are at Grand Gulf. It is other opportunities in security and other things.”