Ben Clary

Ben Clary
Ben Clary

Ben Clary, an Energy Technology student, trains using electronic equipment donated to the college by John Fluke Manufacturing, tools that enhance his training. A resident of Napavine, Clary is returning to Centralia College to earn his degree and receive training for a career in Energy Technology.

“Careers in the energy field are stable and the pay is very good,” said Clary. “This is something that will work for me for a long time.” He said Centralia College offers the program that would lead to a secure career in a solid field. He worked out a schedule with his instructors to get the training he needs while keeping his regular job. “Centralia College is a quality school and the Energy Technology program has a great reputation,” he said. He also appreciates the opportunity to use quality equipment donated by Fluke as part of his training. “It’s important to be able to use equipment that gives accurate readings,” he said. This is the same equipment he will likely use when he converts his training to a real job. They are tools he can use to his advantage.

One of the best measures of a professional/technical program is the support it gets from the industry it serves. Employers prefer to recruit trained workers that fit seamlessly into their firm’s successful profile. That measure is resoundingly met in Centralia College’s electronics program. Ongoing equipment donations from the far-flung divisions of John Fluke Manufacturing are one reason, they point out, that the college’s Electronics, Robotics, and Automation program — ERA — has been so successful at placing graduates in high demand, high wage jobs.

John Fluke Manufacturing, headquartered in Everett, and its subsidiary, Pomona Electronics of California, are major manufacturers of electronic test equipment and a line of fittings and specific-purpose cables. Between them, the two related firms have donated an estimated $50,000 in updated digital meters, function generators, and other special test equipment to the Centralia College ERA program. Assistant Professor of electronics Cal Taylor said the gifts do more than train students in the electronics classrooms. “The people at John Fluke and Pomona have been very generous,” he explained. “We’ve been able to outfit other programs and internal college programs like chemistry, physics, radio/TV, and our own electronic maintenance shops with some state-of-the-art John Fluke and Pomona equipment,” Taylor continued. “We have provided some area high schools with modern electronics equipment, and the students who use it are quite likely to come to Centralia College to begin their electronics or engineering studies.” The gifts aren’t outdated, worn out, or hand-me-downs, either. They are brand-new, highly specialized close-tolerance products that present students with hands-on learning on the latest products available.

Taylor says the company also gets a substantial return for their donations. “Many times our students get job offers even before they finish our courses,” Taylor said.
Last year, every electronics/ERA student graduating from Centralia College had received one or more job offers before the academic year ended. Informal placement of students from those classes remains near 100 percent through faculty networking and industry support of the college. Federal Labor forecasts indicate electronics jobs will grow, according to Taylor, and there will be a robust market opportunity for technicians with certificates or associate degrees in the months ahead.

If you are interested in a career in Energy Technology, visit the program Web site at:

One Comment

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  1. An energy tech student wannabe July 23, 2009 — 11:03 pm

    It’s good that the college gets that equipment. Not sure what the program would be without it. Proof that those industry connections do count for something.

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