Michigan utilities, Gov. Snyder back Careers in Energy Week
DETROIT, Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the success of its inaugural year in 2014, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy will kick off the second annual "Careers in Energy Week," proclaimed Oct. 12-18 by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Snyder has proclaimed Careers in Energy week to raise awareness about a sector that boasts nearly 90,000 jobs in Michigan and creates more than 1,500 new opportunities a year. In addition, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy collectively provide more than 500 internship and co-op jobs for high school and college students. In 2014, the companies together reached 30,000 students in their inaugural program.
"Michigan's energy industry is a portal to rewarding careers that demand technical skills and training," said Stephanie Comai, director of the Michigan Talent Investment Agency. "Through the leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder, the state is doing its part to raise awareness of the value of skilled-trades jobs and to provide training opportunities that will help the energy industry and other sectors grow. Careers in Energy Week is a great way to spread the word about the many career options that this industry offers."
The week-long series of educational events will help students and residents understand the importance of the energy industry to the economy, as well as the personal economic benefits associated with choosing a career in the sector.
Over the course of four days, high school students will participate in real-life training and development exercises simulating aspects of energy careers in the electric and gas industries, hosted by the state's two largest utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy.
"There is a definite need to create an energy career pathway within what we call our 'invisible' industry," said Tracy DiSanto, DTE Energy manager, Workforce Planning and Analytics, and co-chair of the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium. "Our industry often gets overlooked because although we provide essential products and services, it isn't viewed as a possible career path, and it should be just like many others."
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, and Friday, Oct. 16, students from the Jobs for Michigan's Graduates program at Cody High School in Detroit will visit DTE Energy's Training and Development Center in Westland. During their day-long experience, student will experience:
- An underground splicing school and welding lab;
- The meter room where they will learn how to read and interpret the system;
- A nearby substation, which serves as a main power hub for utilities in communities throughout the state;
- The "Slip, Trip and Fall simulator," which focuses on safety practices for utility workers;
- A discussion on where to look for jobs and the educational requirements for those jobs.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 15, Jobs for Michigan's Graduates students from Lansing and Flint will visit Consumer's Energy's Flint Service Center and Marshall Training Center. U.S. Rep Tim Wahlberg and other legislators will participate in the Oct. 15 Marshall event. During their tours, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of electricity and natural gas and learn about the many job opportunities available through hands-on and lab experiences including:
- Safety fundamentals and requirements, including an opportunity to wear fire-retardant suits/equipment and line-worker tool belts;
- Solar house tour;
- Using natural gas leak detection equipment;
- Gas line identification;
- Electric substation overview;
- Pole climbing demonstration.
"We are confident these combined activities bode well to build a talent pipeline crucial to building and sustaining Michigan's energy industry," said Stacy Mowrer, Consumers Energy director, Learning and Development, and MEWDC co-chair. "We want to draw attention to a strong utility industry that provides reliable and affordable energy, which is the backbone of Michigan's ability to attract business and industry."
Many positions within the industry are expected to be vacated by the retiring baby boomer generation in the coming years, making the annual week-long focus on the energy sector more imperative than ever. Beyond the aforementioned day-long on-site exercises, activities will include:
- A summit with the American Petroleum Institute to discuss career and workforce opportunities for minorities and women in the growing energy industry
- Distribution of Take Action energy efficiency kits this fall to nearly 25,000 elementary and secondary students in 240 schools across Michigan, with accompanying discussion on the energy industry, safety and energy efficiency.
- Recruiting from colleges across Michigan for co-op, internships and full-time opportunities
- Support for educational entities through annual contributions totaling $3.5 million from company Foundations.
The MEWDC, an industry-led partnership formed in 2009, includes representatives of industry, workforce, education and veterans. This year, the consortium received a grant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is being used to implement talent development strategies for employment opportunities.
The consortium also has collaborated with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to plan a Michigan Troops to Energy jobs program.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide.
Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.
About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
SOURCE DTE Energy