Freeport-McMoRan Announces 2019 Morenci High School Alumni Career Signing Day

Morenci, AZ – Six Morenci High School alumni who are getting ready to jump in to exciting careers as Electrical and Instrumentation apprentices at Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci operations are celebrating their achievement with a Career Signing Day hosted by the Gila Institute for Technology who partnered with the company to create a Career Technical Education District program at Morenci High School.

Tanner Hudman, Luke Berube and Jonathan Merino were hired when they completed the program in May. Dalton Lujan, Angel Rojas and Esai Vanegas previously completed the Gila Institute program and attended Eastern Arizona College, where they received their Electrical and Instrumentation Associate of Applied Science degrees. The recent hires will report to work in September.

Students are excited about the opportunity to work in the town where they were raised.

“I’ve always wanted to live in Morenci and wanted to work for Freeport-McMoRan. The CTED program got me where I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Hudman said.
These individuals participated in the Gila Institute Electrical and Instrumentation program, which is one of many Career Technical Education District (CTED) programs offered through Gila Institute for Technology at Morenci High School.

“This work has a lot of rewards, and it is especially exciting to see these young adults get such a great opportunity to start an exciting career,” said Greg Verlander the instructor for the course.

Since the Electrical and Instrumentation program began in 2011, more than 100 students have participated, and it remains popular with the fall sections already full.

Troy Thygerson, Superintendent of Gila Institute for Technology, said the program brings great value to the students. “We strongly believe this program provides a competitive advantage for our students earning college credits while learning skills for the real world.”

Dr. David Woodall, Morenci School District Superintendent agreed. “It is exciting to see the results of our unique partnership. This is a great example of working together to create career opportunities for our students while filling a critical need in the workforce.”

Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci operations employs over 3,700 employees while the Safford operations employs around 1,100.

“Strengthening our local career pipeline not only strengthens our business but is foundational in the growth and development needed to make our operating communities strong and resilient in the future,” said Stacey Koon, General Manager-Administration at Morenci.

The company is working diligently to successfully recruit, retain and develop their employees as the skilled trades gap continues to widen across the United States. Freeport-McMoRan has developed partnerships and programs across their North American portfolio to address this need, including high school CTED partnerships and internal apprenticeship programs.

“Congratulations to our newest employees! We are excited about the value you bring to our operations and our local communities,” Koon said.

For more information about the GIFT program, please contact Troy Thygerson, Superintendent GIFT: For information about Freeport-McMoRan careers, please visit For inquiries about the operation, please contact Emily Muteb, Community Development Manager: