Power 4 America 2019

The California Water Utility Council and California Water Service Group are Newest Members — P4A Enters Renewable Training with DOL Apprenticeship — Another Successful Year in P4A Training

POWER 4 AMERICA – P4A Welcomes

The California Water Utility Council and California Water Service Group are Newest Members

Seeing the value of union-led training, the California Water Utility Council (CWUC) and the California Water Service Group have signed an agreement to partner with the UWUA’s Power 4 America Training Trust for the next two years. They join P4A’s growing number of UWUA members and employers who understand the value of union members training union members.

The agreement follows a meeting of the CWUC Executive Board, the Cal Water CEO and managers, and the P4A last year where training opportunities were explored.

“Our intent was to continue the positive ‘One Team Approach’ the union has with the company,” said Rick Wilson, CWUC vice president, and Local 160C president. “This effort, and our partnership with P4A will solidify and reinforce our ‘leader in the water utility industry’ standard,” he said.

The CWUC leadership saw the value in union-led training for its approximately 700 UWUA members as well as the 85 International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) union members within the company.

“With the addition of CWUC and Cal Water, P4A provides training from coast to coast for UWUA members,” said Jon Harmon, P4A’s executive director. “Our goal to provide high-quality union-led training is a perfect match with the existing collaboration between the CWUC and Cal Water.”

In meetings at the company’s San Jose headquarters, members of the CWUC, P4A and Cal Water discussed training programs designed to complement current safety and leadership training. The goal is to be able to launch a new union foreman leadership program by June 2019.

California Water Service is the largest regulated American water utility west of the Mississippi River and the third largest in the country.  The company serves 484,900 customer connections through 28 Customer Operations Centers throughout the state.

What’s New for 2019?

P4A Enters Renewable Training with DOL Apprenticeship

As companies look to renewable energy through land-based wind, offshore wind, and solar farms, P4A has developed a training program for UWUA members for these future jobs. When Consumers Energy announced the addition of two new wind energy parks last year, it was clear that these jobs needed highly skilled workers. 

Partnering with the Michigan State Utility Workers Council (MSUWC) and Consumers Energy, P4A began developing a Dept. of Labor (DOL) registered apprenticeship program to train UWUA members to become renewables specialists. Under this training, workers would be able to work on land-based wind turbines, solar farms and battery storage units. 

“The Renewables Specialist Apprenticeship program is something that this industry is going to be proud of,” says MSUWC Sr. Vice President Tom Cole. “Adding the solar and battery storage into the curriculum will make our members DOL accredited journeyman not only in the wind tech industry but in the whole realm of renewables,” he said.

“This apprenticeship will prepare UWUA members for the unique challenges in the renewables field,” says P4A Executive Director Jon Harmon. “As companies diversify their renewables portfolio, P4A will be able to train workers for all types of renewable energy jobs.”

The apprenticeship will be an 18-month program that will combine classroom activities with on the job training experiences for the apprentices. 

Rollout for this new apprenticeship is scheduled for spring 2019.

Another Successful Year in P4A Training

Steady growth for the UWUA’s Power 4 America Training Trust (P4A) defined 2018.  P4A continued to grow in trainings offered, employer membership, and number of UWUA members that participated in P4A led trainings. Five employers (American Water, Con Edison, Consumers Energy, Peoples Gas and Utility Lines Construction) continued to entrust P4A to deliver union-led, high quality training to 3,676 UWUA members from New York to California.  “It’s exciting to think that 7% of the UWUA’s membership experienced some type of union-led training by P4A in 2018,” said P4A Executive Director Jon Harmon. “Companies recognize that our peer led training produces better trained employees.”

Union members training union members

Over the course of the year, P4A delivered 122,110 training hours. Classes ranged from 2-hour excavation safety courses to 6-month Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP) trainings. The typical individual in these trainings received on average 33 hours of union-led, union-based instruction. Many of these trainings were led by UWUA members. 

Reaching out to the military community, P4A taught the necessary skills for 126 veterans to become new members of UWUA Chicago Local 18007, and Michigan Locals 104, 105 and 106. Collaborative partnerships between these locals and their employers have created career opportunities for veterans.

P4A renewed its emphasis on safety training by participating in the OSHA Susan Harwood training grants program — 730 members of Consumers Energy’s EIRP work group spent two hours in the grant funded excavation safety refresher course in the month of September. This training was an opportunity to come together to review the daily hazards that exist on the worksite.

In addition to this training, P4A added a national health, safety and environment director in August. Bill Komianos brings over 40 years of safety experience in the utility industry. He has conducted environmental testing in P4A labs to ensure that students are protected. He has also been working to update the Systems of Safety training materials to reflect today’s hazards in the workplace.

P4A is currently working with UWUA members to develop a DOL registered Renewables Specialist apprenticeship for spring 2019. Individuals that complete this 18-month training will be able to provide Operation and Maintenance for land-based wind turbines, solar farms and battery storage. Pictured here: P4A East Coast Coordinator Priscilla Peloubet at a wind turbine door, top, and Local 124 Renewable Lead Wayne Rinkevicz in the turbine’s hub at the Lake Wind Energy Park in Ludington, MI.