TARMIYAH, Iraq - The Ministry of Electricity celebrated the addition of 20 new linesmen to help restore much-needed electrical services to a rural area north of Baghdad.

The Tarmiyah Electrical Line Repair Team School held its graduation ceremony in the city of Tarmiyah, June 18. The event culminated six months of training for area citizens to gain the skills necessary to work for the ministry and help improve the electrical service in the area.

The class included three weeks of classroom instruction followed by 23 weeks of on-the-job-training. First Lt. Richard Weber, assistant engineer for 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Multi-national Division-Baghdad, has been working with the ministry to oversee the progress of the course.

"The classes are entirely Iraqi-run and taught," said Weber, from Harrisburg, Pa. "The U.S. Government helps fund the classes by providing supplies such as the vehicles and tools to conduct training. At the end of the course, they have learned valuable skills for the Ministry of Electricity to work on their local networks."

According to Weber, after graduation, the students will go on to work in teams for the MoE. Tarmiyah is a rural area about 18 miles north of Baghdad. The graduates will be responsible for helping to restore the electrical infrastructure for much of the Tarmiyah region.

Engineer Hasham Kareem, the engineer director for the Tarmiyah and Taji areas, spoke at the graduation ceremony. Kareem helped run the course for the new graduates.

"This celebrates the end of training. This graduation is good for Iraq, the Tarmiyah [area], and the city," Kareem said. "This program is a success because of the cooperation between the U.S. and Iraqi government, and we hope the U.S. will continue to back us in the future."

The ELRT program brings attention to the rural provinces of Baghdad. The students have already proven their work to the ministry by the end of the course, so they can expect to continue working in their areas to improve the electricity situation.

"This class has been a good experience," said Ali Jassim, 26, a new graduate of the ELRT course. "The lessons we learn can be used to fix and troubleshoot all types of electrical problems. This is a way to serve the people of Iraq and the Ministry of Electricity"

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16