Jobseekers Train for Energy Careers

07.01.2012
Workforce

By Lesia Winiarskyj

More than a dozen Greater-Hartford-area residents completed an eight-week training program at CBIA member company Northeast Utilities (NU) this spring.

The program, which ended June 7, covered skills and concepts in basic electrical, gas, nuclear, and wind power generation; OSHA 10; confined space attendant/rescue worker and flagger training; rigging certification; and environmental issues. (Participants also spent two weeks at the New England Tractor Trailer Training School and earned their commercial driver’s licenses.)

“The energy sector has a high demand for skilled employees,” says Judy Resnick, executive director of CBIA’s Education Foundation. “This program is an important step toward meeting that need.”

“Twenty-five percent of our utilities workforce is eligible for retirement,” says Tom Burns, director of training at NU. “We need qualified people to replace them and keep up with a growing demand for energy.”

Before enrolling in the NU training, all 13 participants completed an intensive six-week program: Academic Skills Enhancement for Energy-Related Careers: to enhance their critical thinking, math, and applied technology skills and prepare them for the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate, a national credential identified as the entry-level standard for the energy industry.

Vernon resident Stan Gabel, 44, who has been out of school for 25 years, had always struggled with math. With one-on-one assistance from his instructors, however, he began to excel: ultimately earning a “gold” rating (the second highest possible) on his ACT National Career Readiness Certificate exam.

“Now that I’ve been able to learn job skills and build upon the training I have already received, I’m walking taller and feel so much better about my ability to find quality employment to take care of my family.”

Training was made possible by a grant from the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford. CBIA’s Education Foundation manages workforce development initiatives in energy/utilities on behalf of the collaborative.

Lesia Winiarskyj is a writer and editor at CBIA. She can be reached at lesia.winiarskyj@cbia.com.

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