Five students graduated from Walla Walla District's Apprentice Program during a ceremony Thursday at McNary Lock and Dam. The five are:

?Kraig Gross, a Coast Guard veteran from Rathdrum, Idaho, works at McNary Lock and Dam as a power house electrician;

?Jeff Pedersen, a Navy veteran from Brule, Neb., works at McNary Lock and Dam as a power house mechanic;

?Lisa Krieger, of Pendleton, works at Lower Granite as a power house operator;

?Cody Crowder, of Spokane, Wash., works at McNary as a power house operator'

?and Jesse Pearson, of Wenatchee, Wash., works at Dworshack as a power house electrician.

The apprentice program, based at McNary Lock and Dam near Umatilla, develops trades and crafts journeymen to serve in Walla Walla District hydropower facilities. The program typically graduates six to eight apprentices each year. Depending on prior education, or simultaneous enrollment in a related college education program, students can pursue a three or four-year program to become electrical, mechanical or operations journeymen.

The first year focuses on gaining hydropower knowledge, after which each student selects a craft to pursue as a career. The next two to three years are spent under the guidance of journeymen and a rigid academic curriculum. Academic work includes textbook studies, computer-based training and hands-on experience. During their apprenticeship, students gain work experience at the six hydroelectric facilities in the district before they join the workforce as craftspersons.

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