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                                                                                                                        McNary Dam, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers photo.

Application Process

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The Office of Personnel Management Apprentice exam dates will be announced on this site as soon as they are firm. There will not be an exam in February. The exam will be held in the Harvest Room of our District Headquarters Building at 201 North Third Avenue Walla Walla, WA 99362 and at the McNary Dam Theater at 82790 Devore Road Umatilla, OR 97882. We will have two testing sessions each day. 8:30-12:30 and 1:00-5:00 there is no charge to take the exam.


***IMPORTANT NOTE: ANY EXPENSES INCURRED REPORTING TO THE TEST SITE IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE APPLICANT***

This training program provides specific orientation, guidance and instruction on the various aspects of hydroelectric power station operation and maintenance. The three craft occupational specialties include: Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Electrician, and Power Plant Mechanic.

To be considered for a Power Plant Apprenticeship position, you must:

• Receive a passing score of 70 or above on the Office of Personnel (OPM) Trades Apprenticeship Exam dated between 1 January 2015 - to present.

• Possess the aptitude and interest for learning.

Contact Us

McNary Lock and Dam
82790 Devore Road
PO Box 1230
Umatilla, OR 97882-1230
Hydropower Training

Phone:
(541) 922-2224

Position Description

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 POWER PLANT ELECTRICIAN – U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Position is in the second year (Part II) of the Power Plant Trainee Program, assigned to the targeted craft specialty of Power Plant Electrician. At the beginning of Part II of the program, the trainee is assigned to a specific target occupation of Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Electrician, or Power Plant Mechanic. Each part (Part II, III and IV) consists of one year specialized training in the field of operation and maintenance of hydroelectric power plants, consistent with future project requirements; plus the appropriate instruction, tests, and assignments. The Training Program will consist of a combination of academic, plant equipment study, and on-the-job training.

MAJOR DUTIES

Receives specific assignments designed to provide required knowledges, skills, and abilities necessary for performance as a Power Plant Electrician at the journey level and to be made a part hereof under the formal Hydroelectric Power Plant Personnel Training Program as set forth in provisions of ER/EP1130-2-510, and supplemented by locally established implementing procedures, practices and instructions. Advancement from Part II to Part III is governed by satisfactory completion of Part II as prescribed in the ER/EP and local Power Plant Trainee Training Plan. Part II, one year, grade T/C-C Part III, one year, grade T/C-E Part IV, one year, grade T/C-G

SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE

Basic knowledge of trade theory and practice, and ability to apply skills and knowledges learned. Basic knowledge of math, algebra and geometry, and ability to make routine shop calculations. Knowledge to perform on-the-job learning tasks and pass associated tests related to the specialized occupation of Power Plant Electrician. Basic knowledge of tools of the trade. Basic knowledge of related aspects of computer technology. Ability to follow directions in a shop and use trade related guides such as: manufacturer catalogs, technical manuals, specifications, blueprints, etc. A valid state driver’s license is required.

RESPONSIBILITY

Receives specific orientation, guidance and instructions on various aspects of hydroelectric power station operation and maintenance through training in the craft specialty during the formal training program. Related and classroom study and on-the-job work assignments are closely coordinated to relate basic theories to practicable application of operation and maintenance activities of hydroelectric projects, and are closely and critically reviewed to assure satisfactory performance necessary for continuance in the program. Responsible for meeting and maintaining standards of Federal employment in the classroom and on-the-job performance and work conduct. Responsible for learning the study material and ability to do the work required in the trade without hazard to self or other workers. Responsible to comply with established safety standards and practices. Must comply with lockout/tagout procedures and other project safety requirements.

PHYSICAL EFFORT

Work requires extensive walking, standing, and climbing vertical and inclined ladders and stairs; and stooping, bending, kneeling, and crawling. Work may be done in awkward and cramped positions which may require the physical endurance to work under poor conditions for prolonged periods of time. Requires lifting and carrying tools, equipment and supplies frequently weighing up to, and occasionally over, 45 pounds. Must have good distant vision in each eye and be able to read fine calibrations; glasses permitted. Ability to distinguish basic colors is required. Ability to hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, is required. An amputation of arm, hand, leg or foot will normally disqualify an applicant for appointment. Any physical condition which would cause the applicant to be a hazard to his/herself or to others is disqualifying.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The principal assignment is to the powerhouse; however the work area may include navigation lock, fish facilities, intake structures, and spillway areas. When working outside, is exposed to the usual extremes of climate. Exposed to high noise levels from equipment and machinery, and exposed to heights, oils, greases, confined areas, dust, dirt, water, heat and cold, odors, fumes, and moving and/or energized equipment. There is danger of serious injury or death if employee contacts high voltage electricity, and danger of drowning when working above swift moving water. Is subject to the discomfort of wearing safety equipment such as hard-hats, ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves, etc. Must wear appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing, and successfully complete and maintain all occupational health requirements.

POWER PLANT MECHANIC – U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Position is in the second year (Part II) of the Power Plant Trainee Program, assigned to the targeted craft specialty of Power Plant Mechanic. At the beginning of Part II of the Program, the trainee is assigned to a specific target occupation of Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Electrician, or Power Plant Mechanic. Each part (Part II, III and IV) consists of one year specialized training in the field of operation and maintenance of hydroelectric power plants, consistent with future project requirements; plus the appropriate instruction, tests, and assignments. The Training Program will consist of a combination of academic, plant equipment study, and on-the-job training.

MAJOR DUTIES

Receives specific assignments designed to provide required knowledges, skills, and abilities necessary for performance as a Power Plant Mechanic at the journey level and to be made a part hereof under the formal Hydroelectric Power Plant Personnel Training Program as set forth in provisions of ER/EP 1130-2-510, and supplemented by locally established implementing procedures, practices and instructions. Advancement from Part II to Part III is governed by satisfactory completion of Part II as prescribed in the ER/EP and local Power Plant Trainee Training Plan. Part II, one year, grade T/C-C Part III, one year, grade T/C-E Part IV, one year, grade T/C-G

SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE

Basic knowledge of trade theory and practice, and ability to apply skills and knowledges learned. Basic knowledge of math, algebra and geometry, and ability to make routine shop calculations. Knowledge to perform on-the-job learning tasks and pass associated tests related to the specialized occupation of Power Plant Mechanic. Basic knowledge of tools of the trade. Basic knowledge of related aspects of computer technology. Ability to follow directions in a shop and use trade related guides such as: manufacturer catalogs, technical manuals, specifications, blueprints, etc. A valid state driver’s license is required.

RESPONSIBILITY

Receives specific orientation, guidance and instructions on various aspects of hydroelectric power station operation and maintenance through training in the craft specialty during the formal training program. Related and classroom study and on-the-job work assignments are closely coordinated to relate basic theories to practicable application of operation and maintenance activities of hydroelectric projects, and are closely and critically reviewed to assure satisfactory performance necessary for continuance in the program. Responsible for meeting and maintaining standards of Federal employment in the classroom and on-the-job performance and work conduct. Responsible for learning the study material and ability to do the work required in the trade without hazard to self or other workers. Responsible to comply with established safety standards and practices. Must comply with lockout/tagout procedures and other project safety requirements.

PHYSICAL EFFORT

Work requires extensive walking, standing, and climbing vertical and inclined ladders and stairs; and stooping, bending, kneeling, and crawling. Work may be done in awkward and cramped positions which may require the physical endurance to work under poor conditions for prolonged periods of time. Requires lifting and carrying tools, equipment and supplies frequently weighing up to, and occasionally over, 45 pounds. Required to operate large valves, apply servolocks, lift deck hatches, and perform other tasks requiring pulling or turning force. There is danger of cuts, bruises and burns from equipment used and possible irritation or injury to eyes and spills from acids and solvents used. Must have good distant vision in each eye and be able to read fine calibrations; glasses permitted. Ability to distinguish basic colors is required. Ability to hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, is required. An amputation of arm, hand, leg or foot will normally disqualify an applicant for appointment. Any physical condition which would cause the applicant to be a hazard to his/herself or to others is disqualifying.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The principal assignment is to the powerhouse; however the work area may include navigation lock, fish facilities, intake structures, and spillway areas. When working outside, is exposed to the usual extremes of climate. Exposed to high noise levels from equipment and machinery, and conditions of low visibility due to wearing protective devices and available light in some locations. Exposed to heights, oils, greases, confined areas, dust, dirt, water, heat and cold, odors, fumes, and moving and/or energized equipment. Occasionally works in proximity to high voltages and currents. Is subject to the discomfort of safety equipment required such as hard-hats, ear plugs, safety glasses and goggles, face masks, shields and helmets, respirators, and gloves depending on work performed and safety requirements which must be met. Must wear appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing, and successfully complete and maintain all occupational health requirements.

POWER PLANT OPERATOR – U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Position is in the second year (Part II) of the Power Plant Trainee Program, assigned to the targeted craft specialty of Power Plant Operator. At the beginning of Part II of the program, the trainee is assigned to a specific target occupation of Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Electrician, or Power Plant Mechanic. Each part (Part II, III and IV) consists of one year specialized training in the field of operation and maintenance of hydroelectric power plants, consistent with future project requirements; plus the appropriate instruction, tests, and assignments. The Training Program will consist of a combination of academic, plant equipment study, and on-the-job training.

MAJOR DUTIES

Receives specific assignments designed to provide required knowledges, skills, and abilities necessary for performance as a Power Plant Operator at the journey level and to be made a part hereof under the formal Hydroelectric Power Plant Personnel Training Program as set forth in provisions of ER/EP 1130-2-510, and supplemented by locally established implementing procedures, practices and instructions. Advancement from Part II to Part III is governed by satisfactory completion of Part II as prescribed in the ER/EP and local Power Plant Trainee Training Plan. Part II, one year, grade TC-C Part III, one year, grade T/C-E Part IV, one year, grade T/C-G

SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE

Basic knowledge of trade theory and practice, and ability to apply skills and knowledges learned. Basic knowledge of math, algebra and geometry, and ability to make routine shop calculations. Knowledge to perform on-the-job learning tasks and pass associated tests related to the specialized occupation of Power Plant Operator. Basic knowledge of tools of the trade. Basic knowledge of related aspects of computer technology. Ability to follow directions in a shop and use trade related guides such as: manufacturer catalogs, technical manuals, specifications, blueprints, etc. A valid state driver’s license is required.

RESPONSIBILITY

Receives specific orientation, guidance and instructions on various aspects of hydroelectric power station operation and maintenance through training in the craft specialty during the formal training program. Related and classroom study and on-the-job work assignments are closely coordinated to relate basic theories to practicable application of operation and maintenance activities of hydro-electric projects, and are closely and critically reviewed to assure satisfactory performance necessary for continuance in the program. Responsible for meeting and maintaining standards of Federal employment in the classroom and on-the-job performance and work conduct. Responsible for learning the study material and ability to do the work required in the trade without hazard to self or other workers. Responsible to comply with established safety standards and practices. Must comply with lockout/tagout procedures and other project safety requirements.

PHYSICAL EFFORT

Work requires extensive walking, standing, and climbing vertical and inclined ladders and stairs; and some stooping, bending, kneeling, and crawling. Work may be done in awkward and cramped positions which may require the physical endurance to work under poor conditions for prolonged periods of time. Requires lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and twisting objects frequently weighing up to, and occasionally over, 45 pounds. Required to operate large valves, apply servolocks, lift deck hatches, and perform other tasks requiring pulling or turning force. Must have good distant vision in each eye and be able to read fine calibrations; glasses permitted. Ability to distinguish basic colors is required. Ability to hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, is required. An amputation of arm, hand, leg or foot will normally disqualify an applicant for appointment. Any physical condition which would cause the applicant to be a hazard to his/herself or to others is disqualifying.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The principal assignment is to the powerhouse; however the work area may include navigation lock, fish facilities, intake structures, and spillway areas. Work is principally indoors in a well heated, lighted and ventilated environment, but occasional outdoor work exposes employee to usual climate extremes. Exposed to equipment and machinery noises, heights, oils, greases, confined areas, dust, dirt, water, heat and cold, odors, fumes, and moving and/or energized equipment. May work in proximity to high voltages and currents. Is subject to the discomfort of safety equipment required such as hard-hats and ear plugs. Must wear appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing, and successfully complete and maintain all occupational health requirements. Operator’s work schedule includes an alternating 12-hour rotating shift.

Revised 01/18/02

POWER PLANT TRAINEE – U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

This is an entry level position into the first year (Part I) of the Power Plant Trainee Program. The first year (Part I) consists
of generalized combined training in all three targeted occupations, including one year of rotational on-the-job training in
the operation and maintenance of hydroelectric power plants plus the first year of instruction, tests, and assignments. The
Training Program will consist of a combination of academic, plant equipment study, and on-the job training.

MAJOR DUTIES

Serves as a Power Plant Trainee completing the generalized portion of the formal Hydroelectric Power Plant Personnel
Training Program as prescribed by ER/EP 1130-2-510 for Part I; which precedes assignment to a specific target
occupation (Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Electrician or Power Plant Mechanic) and further training in the assigned
options as prescribed by Parts II, III and IV of the Training Program and local Power Plant Trainee Training Plan.
Part I, one year, grade T/C-B
Part II, one year, grade T/C-C
Part III, one year, grade T/C-E
Part IV, one year, grade T/C-G

SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge sufficient to pass entry level tests. Aptitude and interest for learning trade theory and practice, and ability to
apply skills and knowledges learned. Ability to learn related aspects of computer technology. Elementary knowledge of
math, algebra and geometry, and ability to make simple shop calculations. Knowledge to perform on-the-job learning
tasks and pass associated tests. Ability to follow directions in a shop and use trade related guides such as: manufacturer
catalogs, technical manuals, specifications, blueprints, etc. A valid state driver’s license is required.

RESPONSIBILITY

Receives specific orientation, guidance and instructions on various aspects of hydroelectric power station operation and
maintenance through rotational training in those craft specialties during the formal training program. Related and
classroom study and on-the-job work assignments are closely coordinated to relate basic theories to practicable
application of operation and maintenance activities of hydroelectric projects and are closely and critically reviewed to
assure satisfactory performance necessary for continuance in the program. Responsible for meeting and maintaining
standards of Federal employment in the classroom and on-the-job performance and work conduct. Responsible for
learning the study material and ability to do the work required in the trades without hazard to self or other workers.
Responsible to comply with established safety standards and practices. Works only in non-hazardous areas as approved
by supervisor. Responsible for attending and participating in power plant and safety orientations/training. Must comply
with lockout/tagout procedures and other project safety requirements.
This position is subject to random drug testing iaw EP 600-1-3

PHYSICAL EFFORT

Work requires extensive walking, standing, and climbing vertical and inclined ladders and stairs; and some stooping,
bending, kneeling, and crawling. Work may be done in awkward and cramped positions which may require the physical
endurance to work under poor conditions for prolonged periods of time. Requires lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and
twisting objects frequently weighing up to, and occasionally over, 45 pounds. Required to operate large valves, apply
servolocks, lift deck hatches, and perform other tasks requiring pulling or turning force. Must have good distant vision in
each eye and be able to read fine calibrations; glasses permitted. Ability to distinguish basic colors is required. Ability to
hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, is required. An amputation of arm, hand, leg or foot will
normally disqualify an applicant for appointment. Any physical condition which would cause the applicant to be a hazard to
his/herself or to others is disqualifying.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The principal assignment is to the powerhouse; however the work area may include navigation lock, fish facilities, intake
structures, and spillway areas. Work is principally indoors in a well heated, lighted and ventilated environment, but
occasional outdoor work exposes employee to usual climate extremes. Exposed to equipment and machinery noises,
heights, oils, greases, confined areas, dust, dirt, water, heat and cold, odors, fumes, and moving and/or energized
equipment. Occasionally works in proximity to high voltages and currents. Is subject to the discomfort of safety equipment
required such as hard-hats and ear plugs. Must wear appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing, and
successfully complete and maintain all occupational health requirements.

Revised 01/18/02
 As a Hydropower Apprentice you can expect a challenging yet rewarding experience working with consummate professionals at the top of their respective trades who have the Knowledge, Skills, Experience and Abilities to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair equipment which is state of the art. If you are a 4 year Apprentice you will spend your first year at McNary Dam rotating through the various trades and crafts to get experience in all aspects of Dam and Power House operations. You will then begin "rotations" among the various projects in the Walla Walla District to gain exposure to different equipment and types of operations. It will be the toughest job you ever love and you will be treated as a valuable team member and asset at all times.

1) What can an apprentice expect in their first 4 weeks on the job?

You can expect indoctrination to the work environment and an overview of Corps and Dam operations. You will also complete all of the in-processing/training requirements. You will obtain your security clearance and complete several on-line courses which are mandatory before you begin working outside the office.

2) Given the likely rotation among different Journeymen, how do you settle into a routine?

You will work with many different Journeymen. At times work can run out with one Journeyman and soon enough you’ll be placed with a different Journeyman. As you build trust with a new Journeyman through your work ability, you will begin to feel comfortable and the Journeyman begins to trust you allowing you to work more independently. All Journeymen have a different level of trust and it’s important to impress them because the expectations can be different from Journeyman to Journeyman and Foreman to Foreman.

3) How have you found the combination of work and study?

Each Journeyman is open about the level of work required and the duration of the role so there are no hidden secrets. Your study should not affect your work environment as you study one day per week and it’s any easy task to keep balanced as long as you keep on task and schedule with your schooling.

4) What can you expect by joining USACE Apprenticeships?

The level of work exposure is unbelievable. There is a misconception that Apprentices are used as pure menial labor. The truth is that the work is varied and challenging and Journeymen (mentors) are willing to teach you. You’ll be given advanced tasks as your knowledge and skills develop during your tenure.

5) What level of support can an apprentice receive from a field officer?

The field officers provide support from every angle. They are always willing to help with issues on or off the job. They visit frequently and go above and beyond their level of duty.

1) What advice could you give an apprentice entering the workplace?

Be yourself and respect those you work with, the public (customers), your supervisors and support staff. An apprenticeship is about your development, so ensure you listen, ask questions and be positive in the workplace. Be the best that you can be and above all enjoy what you do!

2) How often does a Field Officer visit?

We visit the workplace weekly. The aim of the visit is to have a chat and discuss your development both on the job and off the job in conjunction with your supervisor/manager. It is important that as a developing professional you are frank, open, and honest and contribute to the conversation.

3) What does the Corps look for in an apprentice?

They want a helper, an asset, a team player and someone with a can-do attitude. Don’t worry if you have limited skills, your apprenticeship training will provide you the support you need.

4) If an apprentice has an issue in the workplace, what can they do about it?

It is always advisable that you speak with your supervisor/manager about the issue and aim to resolve it sooner rather than later. Letting it sit without any action can perhaps make it worse. If you are not comfortable in talking to a representative in your workplace, contact your Field Officer at USACE who will meet with you in person, and talk through your issue and aim to resolve it ASAP in the strictest of confidence. Even just talking about an issue can improve your situation.

5) What will an individual gain from completing an apprenticeship?

Upon completion, you will have your I-Grade license qualification provided you keep up with your schooling, profiling and pass all external exams. You will also have valuable hands-on knowledge having worked in your field for 4 years.

Any questions? Please call the apprenticeship team at 541-922-2224

1) How should I prepare for a job interview?

Look professional even if you’re applying for an apprenticeship. Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have. If you feel professional those interviewing you will see you as professional and that is the first step. Go through your resume. Make sure it is as up to date as possible and make sure you know what you have written. If you are questioned about your resume and you don’t know the answer it can make you look like you didn’t do the work that you have stated. Think about your skills and how they can be transferred into another role. It’s a good way to sell yourself.

2) How do I answer a Behavioral Based interview question?

The best advice is to simply be honest. BBI questions are not there to catch you up. They are a clever way to understand the way a person behaves instinctively in a particular instance. A good technique is the STAR technique. S=situation (where were you, what year it was), T=Task (what task were you given to complete), A= Action (what action did you specifically take to achieve the task), R=Result (what was the outcome). By following these simple steps you can really shine in an interview.

3) How old do I have to be to start an apprenticeship?

The minimum age for acceptance into the Apprenticeship program is 18, but just remember that working in a trade can take you from project to project so you need the ability to travel. With USACE Apprenticeships, due to the travel and safety requirements of the trades, you need to be 18 years old.

4) What is involved in an induction?

You will fill out employment forms to ensure that you are paid all of your entitlements. You will learn the values of the Corps, how to be the best employee you can be. You will learn the values important to working safely on the job. Various people from the Corps will visit to share with you information about the sites and industry. You will be issued personal protective clothing and equipment. USACE will issue a comprehensive set of tools, protective gear and equipment to successful applicants and instruction will be delivered on how to use them. Tools, equipment and clothing are replaced by USACE on a routine basis. It is an enjoyable and informative, learning experience.