Donald C. Cook Plant Rotational Engineer Program:

Program Purpose and Overview

The Rotational Engineer Program was developed to improve the Cook Plant’s ability to hire and retain talented young engineers and better prepare new engineers for their permanent assignment. By participating in the program, an engineer becomes familiar with the plant’s organization and operation. An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the various departments and personnel at the plant is gained prior to being assigned a permanent position. When the engineer begins working in their permanent position, they will better understand their individual role, and have developed stronger working relationships with personnel in the plant. New engineers will function more effectively; improving both their chances for success and job satisfaction.

The program also helps the new engineers develop friendships, which promotes a rewarding social and professional life. Engineers entering the program any given year are hired in a group and treated as a “class”. They attend training and other functions as a group, and travel together on business related trips. The program supervisor arranges for a variety of activities where engineers interact with other Cook Plant personnel. The camaraderie enjoyed as a result of these interactions extends beyond their rotational assignments. A new employee will not feel isolated after moving to the area.

Program Description

The Rotational Engineer Program varies in length lasting about 12 to 15 months based on plant activities scheduled for a given year. The order of rotational assignments can also vary significantly based on the plant schedule. Typically, 4 to 6 new engineers are hired into the program at a time.

Initial orientation lasts about one month. Following general employee training, the participants are given approximately two weeks to self-study plant procedures and are taken on tours to become familiar with the station. After completing a self-study period on plant procedures, the engineers participate in a one-week System Overview class to gain a general understanding of plant operation.

After completing initial orientation, rotational assignments begin. While the visits are mainly for familiarization and training, engineers are usually given tasks to perform during their assignments to become familiar with the responsibilities of each organization. The length of the visits can vary from a couple of days to over a month depending on organizational and plant activities in progress at the time. For example, an engineer may only spend 2 or 3 days in Performance Assurance, but they may spend 35 to 40 days in Operations or Maintenance during a refueling outage.

During their rotational assignment, engineers will visit virtually all plant departments. In addition, they will travel to a number of AEP facilities including a coal plant, a mining site, corporate headquarters, and the Central Machine Shop. If the opportunity arises they will also be sent to industry- related seminars or functions. Participants will also receive comprehensive training on plant systems and fundamentals as part of the Rotational Engineer Program, lasting approximately 7 weeks. This is in addition to the one-week system overview class that is part of the initial orientation.

The Program Supervisor arranges for a variety of functions throughout the year. These functions include members of the previous class, summer interns, and other Cook Plant staff.


Past participants in this program have developed strong friendships and solid ties to the community. The program helps to ensure that new engineers not only have a positive professional experience, but a positive personal one as well. This greatly increases our chances of hiring and retaining talented young engineers at the Cook Plant.

Please contact Tiffany Rydwelski (269-466-3412, ) if you have any questions about the program.

Visit AEP's Career Center to explore the latest job opportunities available in Bridgman, MI at the Cook Nuclear Plant and adjoining facilities.