The Kalamazoo-St. Joseph Michigan Works! office has awarded up to $252,880 to Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) for students enrolled in its Utility Line Worker Academy beginning May 7. As a result, full scholarships will be awarded to the 15 trainees who have been accepted into the first Utility Line Worker Academy.
Students learned the news at their physical fitness testing session. Brad Hartel, one of the 15 trainees, recently returned to civilian life after serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Brad was extremely excited when he learned of the scholarship. With his military background, Brad sees the Academy as a great opportunity to transition into a stable career. “I like what line work has to offer,” Hartel said. “I like being outdoors and the physical nature of the work.”
Funding for this occupational skill training is supported through the U.S. Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The utility industry faces a critical skills shortage due to the large number of highly skilled workers nearing retirement. At the same time, the rapid infusion of technology requires a higher level of skill for entry into the industry. The combination of these two factors creates the urgent need for a unified approach to address the training and workforce development needs of Michigan's utility employers.
KVCC and Consumers Energy Services have collaborated on the development of the training. Training will take place at the Groves Campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College and at the Consumer Energy Marshall Training Center in Marshall, Michigan. The Academy will include classroom instruction, physical fitness programming, and hands-on work in the lab and on poles. The pre-apprenticeship training is designed to prepare individuals for high demand, electrical line technician occupations in the utility industry that will meet the needs of employers for highly skilled workers in the utility industry. Graduates earn a certificate of completion from Kalamazoo Valley Community College along with safety certification cards, and a transcript describing specific competencies demonstrated. Completion of the Academy does not guarantee employment with Consumers Energy. Graduates will have the opportunity to become employed by companies locally and across the nation.
For more information about the Utility Line Worker Academy at KVCC, visit www.kvcc.edu/training.
Michigan Works! is a customer focused statewide workforce development system that prepares individuals for work. Assistance is available to employers and job seekers to ensure that employers are provided with a supply of skilled workers and individuals are provided with an opportunity to advance knowledge and skills to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Michigan Works! receives funding from federal and state governments through Michigan's Workforce Development Agency. For more information, please visit the Michigan Works! Service Center, 1601 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, or at 16587 Enterprise Drive, Three Rivers, or online at www.michiganworks14.org. To find other locations throughout the state, visit www.michiganworks.org.