Fifteen years ago, Kansas Municipal Utilities (KMU) had a vision—to create a training center to prepare the next generation of field workers. In November, KMU’s dream became a reality as it cut the ribbon on its new $3.2 million facility.
KMU, an association of municipally owned and operated utilities in Kansas, broke ground on the 20,000-sq-ft building back in October 2015. The association opened the new training center to meet the needs of its members, who were facing the challenges of an aging field workforce.
Through a survey, KMU discovered that many energy companies were facing labor shortages across the board from linemen to field managers to engineers. Also, they expected the problem to worsen as waves of workers were planning to retire in the next three to five years.
To support public utilities in the state of Kansas, KMU looked for a way to short-circuit the learning curve so utilities could swiftly prepare new hires to work as effective front-line employees. As such, KMU acquired 35 acres of land in McPherson, Kansas, and began forging ahead on its mission to train field workers.