Training program targets experiential learning for power engineering fields

Participating in training programs, such as Eaton’s program for consulting engineers,creates professional development and application training for emerging engineers.


With 50% of the power industry’s talent being eligible for retirement, a great amount of power systems knowledge will soon be leaving the industry. As more senior engineers retire and less experienced engineers enter the workforce, it is critical for many established companies to develop relationships with a new generation of design engineers and power consultants.

Training programs for young professionals

Training programs, such as Eaton’s consultant program for entry-level engineers, can offer a unique educational opportunity for early career design engineers for power systems and demonstrate the commitment market leaders have made toward quickly bridging this knowledge gap. Eaton, for example, invests in innovative programs that support bringing critical industry knowledge to emerging engineers by engaging these professionals as they enter the field and create new career paths that can better meet contemporary power challenges.

The Eaton training program is a 2-day, hands-on, application training program that is designed to cultivate long-term relationships. On an annual basis, Eaton invites participants who are early-career design engineers, currently employed with an electrical consulting firm.

The training program combines conventional classroom sessions with on-the-job activities including group demonstrations, calculations, and interactive games. The program’s coursework is based on the combined knowledge of dozens of application engineers and power distribution experts. The curriculum primarily addresses power systems design and is based on Eaton’s Consulting Application Guide (CAG), now in its 15th edition. Major topics range from system analysis and 3-phase power calculations to power quality, load-flow analysis, and data center design.

Goals for engineering training programs

The high-level training goals for participants in Eaton’s program include: 

  • Provide practical training that helps early career engineers better understand how their designs are implemented in actual physical hardware.
  • Educate participants on power system design basics that are typically not covered in college electrical engineering courses.
  • Provide guidelines and knowledge not generally found in textbooks through practice calculations and with real equipment. 

During the program, participants gain direct, personal experience of electrical systems in the interactive training environment of Eaton’s Experience Centers. This exposure provides greater context for the real-life needs, core challenges, and equipment solutions available today, as well as the types of questions that come up in applying these solutions to practical scenarios.

Most students learn this theory in a college classroom, but with a hands-on program, participants can actually see how it all ties together in a working system.

The program ensures that all interactions and social time are specifically designed to make participants the focus of attention. This approach aims to build understanding, foster confidence, and expand the potential of each participant as an emerging leader and expert.

The attention received while in the program is not the norm for young professional engineers. Many are more accustomed to taking a “back-seat” position while in the presence of the senior engineers within their firms. Participants appreciate the opportunity to interact with personnel within the engineering firm and their local peers in a social setting.

The Eaton program’s ongoing learning component further assures its participants’ success. The consulting engineers are invited back to one of Eaton’s Experience Centers every year, allowing the Eaton team to receive feedback from the program’s graduates about their achievements and concerns.

One such reunion was recently hosted at Eaton’s Power Systems Experience Center (PSEC) in Warrendale, Pa. (near Pittsburgh). Eight graduates of the 2009 Eaton training program, who are now employed by electrical consulting firms in Michigan, attended.

Over a 3-day reunion event, the graduates were interviewed about how the program helped them become better engineers and what they learned that could be readily applied in their current professions.

Eaton’s 2009 training program reunion participants included: Jonathan French, PE, Electrical Department vice president; DiClemente Siegel Design; Mike Wysocki, electrical engineer, Harley Ellis Devereaux; Matthew Beck, electrical estimator, Hartzel & Buehler; Lauren Ryzyi, project engineer at Sidock Group, Inc.; Andrew Varilone, PE, electrical engineer at SmithGroupJJR; Mike Nowicki, PE, electrical discipline leader at SmithGroupJJR; Scott Peck, PE, electrical engineer at Peter Basso Associates; and Chris Kennedy, PE, power systems engineer at Eaton.

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