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Apprenticeship Program Honors Graduates Kowal and Cotton

Pamela Barnes Kowal and Eugene Cotton, two Office of Research Services employees who graduated from the NIH Apprenticeship Program last summer, were honored recently at a ceremony and reception held in Bldg. 1. Each received certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, the State of Maryland and NIH acknowledging their completion of 4 years of on-the-job learning and an academic program at Montgomery College.

Cotton, a utility systems repairer operator, came to NIH from private industry in 1989 and had been an iron worker. His strong belief in the importance of family and his desire to better himself influenced his decision to take advantage of the apprenticeship opportunity. He has been described as a "dream employee" who, besides performing outstanding mechanical work in multiple tasks, can be counted on to jump in to do whatever it takes to keep the business maintenance unit running.

Cotton says the on-the-job training and theory he received during his years in the NIH Apprenticeship Program provided a complete learning experience in all the trades, and at the same time allowed him to earn a living.

Honored at a recent reception were two NIH Apprenticeship Program graduates, Pamela Barnes Kowal and Eugene Cotton.

Before coming to NIH, Kowal, an electronic mechanic, worked in heating and air conditioning, served in the Army military police force in Europe and was a security officer with the State Department. In 1998, after transferring to NIH as a police officer, she was selected for the NIH Apprenticeship Program to become an electronic technician.

Kowal graduated from the apprenticeship academic program at Montgomery College with a grade point average of 4.0. She received the Montgomery College Board of Trustees Apprenticeship Scholar Award and a cash award to be applied to future educational purposes of her choice.

The NIH Apprenticeship Program is in its 24th year. Established in 1978, it has graduated more than 100 apprentices and is the only training program at NIH that is geared to the trades.

The program's minority recruitment has been a point of pride. Diversity nurtures the overall mission of NIH, both by providing equal opportunity gateways to employees and gaining skilled, well-qualified craftspeople for operation and maintenance of research facilities.

For information about the NIH Apprenticeship Program, contact Ron Poole, program director, Center for Career Resources, ORS, at 402-1082.

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