U.S. Department of Labor Energy Training Partnership $5 million Grant
In 2010, the UWUA was awarded a $5 million grant to conduct a 30-month project, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration. The effort was to provide training to new entrants and incumbent workers through the Green Skills=Green Jobs Project (GSGJ). The grant was to be used in collaboration with the UWUA Power for America Trust (P4A), and in partnership with employers, public sector agencies, and community organizations in three states – California, Massachusetts and New Jersey. This project provided safety, technical, and green skills training to displaced workers, older youth, and under-employed and disadvantaged adults, with an emphasis on the recruitment of women and minorities, and incumbent workers, including those at risk of losing their jobs. This training, combined with support, placement and retention services, enabled these workers to obtain or retain employment as utility workers, and will enable industry employers to remain competitive, as they strive to meet new energy efficiency and conservation requirements.
Results: GSGJ trained 300 new entrants and 500 incumbent workers. Four hundred received multiple certifications in OSHA 30; Forklift; CPR/First Aid; Scaffolding; Hazwopper; Confined Space; BPI; LEED; Pipe Fusion; 2nd Class Fireman’s License; NABCEP; Water Distribution I & II; and Water Treatment I. Forty-nine received AA or AS degrees. Seven were able to complete their BA. (partial list)
Water Sector Certification Training
In order to leverage monies under the U.S. Department of Labor Energy Training Partnership Grant in CA, UWUA and several non-profits partnered with California Water Service Company to provide 20 new entrants with training in the water sector. Through a $200,000 State of California Employment Training Panel Contract, UWUA and partners were able to provide new entrants with 200 hours of training, which included preparation for Water Distribution Testing I and II, and Water Treatment. They were also provided with professional development. Sixteen new entrants completed certification training, and 14 passed the State of California required testing, and received state certification in Water Distribution II. Of the 16, three also passed the Water Treatment I certification.
Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP)
UMAP is a partnership between the UWUA, the AFL-CIO, and Peoples Gas, in collaboration with:
- UWUA Power for America Training Trust
- UWUA Local 18007
- City Colleges of Chicago
- State of Illinois Economic and Workforce Development Agency
- Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
- Veterans Service Organizations
- City of Chicago Workforce Investment Board
UMAP provides returning veterans with the training needed as gas sector utility workers to successfully transition into job opportunities provided by Peoples Gas.
Blended training (between Power for America and community colleges) includes employer-required coursework; required industry certifications, and employer-paid internship with a mentoring component.
The seven-month program enables participants to effectively obtain and retain living wage employment opportunities as gas utility workers, along with the ability to continue their apprenticeship education leading to an Associate of Science Degree.
Peoples Gas has begun a 25-year infrastructure project to replace the gas pipe operating through Chicago and surrounding cities. The UMAP program provides the company with a highly qualified workforce over the next 20 years. Peoples Gas fully committed to supporting this multi-year program, beyond the sunset date of the proposed grant. As part of their initial contribution to the project, they have committed $1.2 million to the UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund to pay for instructional and clerical staff who will deliver the employer-required curriculum. Additionally, Peoples Gas donated a truck, complete with tools, and had their workforce (UWUA Local 18007 members) build three gas labs at Dawson Technical including distribution, appliance and meter.
The Gas Utility Worker Program is a 50-credit hour advanced certificate program, that consists of general education and classes in operation of natural gas distributions systems. The program also includes a one-month internship, along with a structured mentoring program. All mentors are UWUA Local 18007 journey-level workers, and are provided with training prior to participants entering the internship.
In addition to the $1.2 million from Peoples Gas, the State of Illinois provided Workforce Investment Act grant monies to provide direct services and tuition payment for participants. To date, the UMAP program has enrolled more than 250 veterans, and has placed 200 into jobs with Peoples Gas.
Most recently, Peoples Gas signed an agreement to continue funding for five more years.
Consumers Energy Gas Sector Training
In 2011, MSUWC was granted intervener status on a rate case, in front of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). MSUWC’s goal was to get the MPSC to require Consumers Energy Company to switch the portion of their electrical rate charges that is committed to training employees, from an out-of-state company to the P4A Training Trust. An agreement was reached with Consumers Energy to have P4A train entry level employees, meter readers, utility workers (known as LG4’s), and appliance repair service people in Macomb, MI, beginning in summer 2012.
Training began in September 2013 for Labor Grade 4. The curriculum used by the company was updated and put in a six-day training order. Safety and health, and company procedures for new employees, were the main focus of the training. Students were tested on subjects dealing with asbestos; lock out tag out; proper traffic safety work zone set up; proper lifting techniques; personal protective equipment; first aid and CDL training; excavation and trenching and jack hammering.
The first class for meter readers, an entry-level position, was held in October 2013. Students were given computers to practice and take home at the end of the work day, to continue to hone their skills. The class instructions showed the proper procedure for reading a gas meter from right to left, and how to record those numbers correctly on a hand held device.
A warehouse was purchased in Potterville, MI, for the purpose of becoming the first training center for the P4A. It was reconstructed into classrooms and work labs, to be utilized for the training of CE employees who are members of the MSUWC. The building was completed and the training operation was moved from Macomb to Potterville for the grand opening on June 20, 2014.
UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund collaborated with Consumers Energy to provide incumbent worker training in Appliance Service Repair (Kitchen, Microwave, Dishwasher and Laundry), along with the design, development and implementation of a Refrigeration Class. P4A also provides program and instructor evaluations to ensure delivery of material is appropriate.
Consumers Energy provided $500,000 funding for training.
This successful pilot led to a 2013 5-year $5 million contract with Consumers Energy, to train all gas worker employees through the UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund.
Total amount of grant and other funding 2010 – 2014: $6,750,000