Michigan’s energy industry comprises nearly 100,000 jobs with demand projected to increase by nine percent through 2024, according to Pure Michigan Talent Connect. Also, with nearly 50 percent of the energy workforce becoming eligible for retirement in the next few years, opportunities are arising for new workers.
To help to support to recruit and train the next generation of workers in the line trade, 30 linemen and apprentices from Great Lakes Energy, Consumers Energy and other companies joined forces to wrap up the construction of a new training area in Michigan.
The Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District recently launched a new Energy Fundamentals: Lineworker Emphasis career and technical education program. Two linemen from Great Lakes Energy are teaching a two-hour daily class, which has 10 students from local school districts, according to an article on UpNorthLive.com.
Boyne City High School had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the beginning of the school year for its newly renovated classroom space. In addition to receiving training in the classroom, students also train at the Great Lakes Energy headquarters in Boyne City, Michigan.
In the new training area, which is named in memory of a Consumers Energy lineman who lost his life on the job, the high school students are learning how to safely climb poles and build and maintain power lines. The pre-apprenticeship program was created by Boyne City High School, the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Great Lakes Energy, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy as a way to teach high school students more about careers in the energy industry.
Jim Rummer, career and technical education director for the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, says the school district has been working on the program for many years.
"Our staff is continually looking at opportunities for local students based on economic drivers and indicators," Rummer says. "We know that the energy sector is one area that will have many open doors for our young adults in the years ahead. This career field boasts high pay, plus opportunity for growth and additional training, right out of high school. It is an exciting option for our local students and families to consider.”