Bob Amos points to the multiple screens that monitor the operations of the power plant as equipment operators Larry Hale and Dwight Addleman work at their stations and as MCHS students (from right) Keith Searcy, Matthew Sedam, Zack Monroe, Justin Robertson, Alex Moore and Christian Wickersham listen to Amos. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Bob Amos points to the multiple screens that monitor the operations of the power plant as equipment operators Larry Hale and Dwight Addleman work at their stations and as MCHS students (from right) Keith Searcy, Matthew Sedam, Zack Monroe, Justin Robertson, Alex Moore and Christian Wickersham listen to Amos. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Madison Consolidated Schools students got an in-depth look behind the scenes at the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. Clifty Creek power plant Thursday morning.

More than 40 Madison students were guided through the facility by plant chemists, engineers and managers. The event was part of National Manufacturing Day, and the local activities were sponsored by EcO15's Dream It Do It initiative, which focuses on enhancing opportunities and education for students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In Jefferson County, students from Shawe Memorial, Southwestern and Madison high schools visited three different manufacturers in the community, including IKE, Grote Industries and Royer Corp. The schools also hosted speakers from Madison Precision Products, Vehicle Services Group and Century Tube.

Bob Amos, operating supervisor and simulation instructor for IKE, showed a small group of Madison students throughout the plant, giving them a close-up look at the facility's new flue gas desulfurization scrubbers.

The scrubbers, which became functional earlier this year as part of a multi-million dollar pullution-control project, decrease sulfur dioxide emissions by up to 98 percent. The technology reduces the vapor temperature leaving the stacks while it increases the amount of water vapor emitted.

The Clifty Creek plant has six, 217-mega-watt units that will feed to two scrubbers.

"We could supply the city of Louisville with power. That's how big our plant is," Amos told the students.

Amos also showed students the plant's control center and simulation room, where employees train for facility alerts and learn to monitor plant equipment digitally. Amos said the plant invested more than $1 million on computers, software and programs strictly for the simulation room.

In the control room, manual levels and knobs have been replaced by sophisticated computers and programs.

"When I started, this whole room was just like this," Amos said pointing to the manual levels and gages on a wall.

This year was the second year for local students to participate in National Manufacturing Day. Within Southeast Indiana, the Region 9 Workforce Board, projects manufacturers will offer over 5,000 jobs through 2018.

"The goal with National Manufacturing Day is to get kids connected with the companies right in our hometown," said Kathy Huffman, EcO15 coordinator.

Huffman said the students are "completely surprised by the extent of jobs available and the type of work our companies do."