Demand for gas utility technicians is growing much faster in recent years than the supply of skilled workers, and Moraine Park Technical College – with generous help from Alliant Energy – is seeking to provide a state-of-the-art solution.
Moraine Park is developing a new Gas Utility Technician program at the College’s Beaver Dam campus, along with a cutting-edge, $2.3 million dollar Energy Education Center.
Alliant Energy has become a key contributor to this project, recently donating $80,000.
“Alliant Energy has been a business partner with Moraine Park Technical College for many years. This donation demonstrates their strategic vision for not only their company, but also their industry,” said Moraine Park President Bonnie Baerwald. “With this generous gift, the College will be able to build a state-of-the-art training center for gas utility technicians at our Beaver Dam campus – training young men and women in a profession that provides family-sustaining wages.”
It is anticipated that wages for Gas Utility Technicians will be above that of typical entry-level positions, with projected graduates earning an estimated average of $54,000 per year.
Moraine Park’s goal is to begin construction on its Energy Education Center in April 2018, and graduate the first class of gas utility technicians in 2019.
“Being a 21st-century company means we need highly skilled workers heading into the future,” said Wayne Reschke, Alliant Energy senior vice president for Human Resources. “Investing in Moraine Park Technical College’s natural gas program and its students helps build a talent pipeline for our company and industry.”
The Gas Utility Technician program will serve as a critical pipeline for skilled workers to companies in natural gas, propane, and gas utilities over the next decade, as they face loss of knowledge and expertise due to retirements of an aging workforce. Program graduates will gain the skills to maintain and operate natural gas and propane systems for both residential and commercial customers.
The vision for this new Moraine Park program was developed in conjunction with the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), the Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium, and gas industry professionals.
“It’s a rewarding career with many avenues for growth,” Reschke said. “Natural gas is a growing part of our company’s energy mix and focus. Men and women who graduate from this program will provide innovative solutions and a vital service to their community.”
And, according to Baerwald, Alliant’s support in making the project a reality should not only help the lives of future graduates, but have a profound impact on communities as well.
“Alliant Energy knows that an investment in workforce training creates a stronger tomorrow for the energy industries and the communities they serve. We are thankful for their gift and their continuing partnership,” Baerwald said.
According to Moraine Park’s 2015 graduate follow-up report, 60 percent of its graduates are employed within the ten-county Moraine Park district (including Washington, Dodge, Fond du Lac, and Green Lake counties), and 97 percent are employed within the state of Wisconsin.
For more information on Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.