The Consumers Energy Foundation is supporting a scholarship program to assist individuals interested in becoming utility line workers and also honor an employee killed on the job exactly three years ago.
Jeffrey H. Creel, a Consumers Energy electric line worker from Bronson, was struck and killed June 22, 2012 by a passing vehicle while he investigated a downed power line near Jonesville. His death has resulted in an increased effort by his friends, family, Consumers Energy and other utility companies to educate the driving public about roadside worker safety, emphasizing the phrase "slow down and go around."
"We are honored to establish this scholarship in Jeff's name and to support the next generation of line workers to provide a vital public service," said Michele Kirkland, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy operations. "Jeff was a valued member of the Consumers Energy family, and we're pleased to remember him in this way."
The scholarship program announced today is in conjunction with Lansing Community College (LCC), Alpena Community College (ACC), the Michigan State Utility Workers Council and Consumers Energy.
Students must be actively enrolled and in good academic standing in the Utility Line Worker Program at LCC or the ACC Utility Technology Program. Candidates must have successfully completed all requirements and be selected for enrollment into the 10-week courses delivered at Consumers Energy's training facility in Marshall. Details of the coursework, schedule and application process are available on the LCC and ACC websites. Each college will select one recipient, who will receive a onetime $2,500 payment toward their educational expenses.
The scholarship program, funded by the Consumers Energy Foundation, was created in consultation with Jeff Creel's widow, Robin Creel, and the State Utility Workers Council.
"Jeff worked with a lot of good people, and I pray for their safety every day," Robin Creel said. "I'm pleased this scholarship program will train future line workers to continue the important work done across Michigan."
As with other industries, Consumers Energy has an aging workforce and attracting individuals to learn a skilled trade is very important.
"This scholarship provides an opportunity for qualified individuals to learn this essential trade, and we're pleased that Jeff's name and Consumers Energy are associated with it," said Pat Dillon, president of the Michigan State Utility Workers Council.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy. It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment and emerging issues.
Michigan nonprofit organizations received more than $10 million in contributions in 2014 from Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, its foundation and parent company CMS Energy.