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EAC and Phelps Dodge celebrate grand opening of their occupational training center

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EAC and Phelps Dodge celebrate grand opening of their occupational training center

By Todd Haynie

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College and Phelps Dodge Mining Company celebrated the grand opening of the EAC/PD Occupational Training Center facility on October 10, 2006. The facility, located just blocks from EAC’s main campus in Thatcher, represents a partnership between the College and Phelps Dodge, one of the world’s largest copper producers, to train students in three occupational areas: Diesel Mechanics, Industrial Plant Technician, and Electrical and Instrumentation Technician.

About 150 people were on hand to witness the event, including members of the College’s Governing Board, Graham County Board of Supervisors, local mayors, members of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, school superintendents and principals, and all of the students in the three occupational programs.

Rather than the traditional ribbon cutting, the ceremony included a copper-rod cutting. Students in the programs and representatives from the College and Phelps Dodge gathered to cut a 30-foot rod of copper complete with hard hats and safety glasses, indicative of Phelps Dodge’s emphasis on safety.

“Phelps Dodge is successful at mining the mountains in this area,” said EAC President Mark Bryce. “Our specialty is mining the minds of our community to help develop their potential.”

Phelps Dodge Mining Company–Morenci President David Nacarrati expressed his desire that the hundreds of available jobs be filled by people from the community and that this partnership will make it happen. “The partnership between EAC and PD is a natural fit,” he said.

Students selected to participate in one of these programs receive two semesters of training, which includes classroom lectures, hands-on lab experiences, and up to 20 hours per week in an internship on the job site at the Phelps Dodge mine site in Morenci. Phelps Dodge sponsors up to 65 students each year, just over 20 students per program, and provides scholarships covering tuition and fees and the paid internship.

Upon completion, the students will have achieved a certificate of completion from Eastern Arizona College in the occupational area. Students who have accepted the scholarship offer from Phelps Dodge in the program are fast tracked into the company’s apprenticeship program and commit to three years of employment.

“For the first time students can receive this type of training without relocating long distances,” said Mike Crockett, EAC dean of instruction and coordinator of the program. “Now they can find themselves on the fast track to high-paying jobs in a relatively short period of time.”

For more information about the mining technology occupational training programs and scholarships, visit or contact Crockett at (928) 428-8215 or the EAC Admissions Office at (928) 428-8272. ###