Alpana: Alpena Community College is offering a summer line professional program that prepares students for a pre-training program with Consumer Energy.
Roy Smith, a utility technology instructor, currently teaches 16 students around the state in four different areas required by the power company – electrical theory, energy industry foundations, industrial safety and line worker fitness training.
Smith said fitness training helps students understand the physical requirements of the job.
“When it comes to consumers, one of the first courses they have to take down is employee inclination,” Smith said. It’s just a three-day climbing course, but going for three hours every day for three days and many people don’t have enough to go through it.
Students will receive an OSHA 10-hour safety certificate and business license when learning about equipment and vehicle operation.
By the end of the summer program, Smith said students can apply for a consumer energy pre-training program. If selected in the pre-training program, Smith said he would begin a four-year training with the company.
According to Smith, consumers need line workers to replace energy workers who are planning to retire and prepare for future grid needs. The company plans to expand its workforce from 600 line workers to more than 900 line workers.
Students enrolled in the electric company’s pre-training program may be employed in the state. According to Smith, some of the nearest consumer energy service centers are in the Tawas, Boine and Western branches.
In addition, Smith said the energy company has renegotiated more than $ 40 per hour for level-one professionals.
If the students are not selected to participate in the program, Smith said the business license will still provide them with a way to earn an income while waiting to return to the college’s consumer technology program. Smith said the program is full for the 2021 semester and 2022.
There were more than 300 applicants for the college’s utility technology program this year, and according to Smith, the college has only accepted 60 students. He said the college has a summer program to try to reduce the number of students on the waiting list due to the college’s partnership with Consumer Energy.