Attendees had the opportunity to view and tour the new Energy Education Center, learn about the new Gas Utility program, speak with Moraine Park representatives, and network with community peers.
The event included a brief program, where Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce and Moraine Park Technical College officials, as well as major donors for the project, participated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Recently, due to an aging workforce, the demand for gas utility technicians has grown much faster than the supply of skilled workers. Moraine Park Technical College, with help from generous donors, was able to find a solution, the Energy Education Center. Major donors include Alliant Energy, KS Energy Services, Madison Gas and Electric, Michels Corporation, We Energies, and Wisconsin Public Service.
“Michels has a long history of being a leading gas distribution contractor and employer, locally and throughout the country,” said Sean Nicholson, vice president of health, safety, and environment at Michels Corporation. “We are proud to be in a position to support programs that will teach the skills required of the next generation of gas utility technicians. This is important and much-needed work; safe and reliable gas distribution infrastructure is essential to everyday life.”
This fully functioning state-of-the-art gas utility lab will house the Gas Utility Technician program and will serve as a critical pipeline for skilled workers to companies in natural gas, utilities, gas contractors, and propane suppliers over the next decade.
“The Energy Education Center isn’t just another classroom. Inside is a fully functioning gas utility lab and outside is a hands-on Training Neighborhood,” said Bonnie Baerwald, Moraine Park president. “Students in this program will work through real gas utility scenarios in the Training Neighborhood, have access to the latest technology, and undergo thorough training to get them ready for the field.”
Donors contributed a combined total of $325,000 to make the Energy Education Center and the Gas Utility Technician program a possibility.
“We are proud to support Moraine Park Technical College’s efforts to enhance training and skills development for students through the Energy Education Center,” said Vern Peterson, vice president of field operations for We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service. “It is vital for us to have a highly-trained workforce so that we can continue to provide safe and reliable energy to our customers. The addition of the Energy Education Center will help us meet this growing need for many years.”
Reuben Srinivasan, vice president of human resources at Alliant Energy, said “This new program will create the next generation of energy workers. We’re excited about our investment in these students, and we can’t wait to congratulate the first graduating class.”
The first cohort, starting this June, is at full capacity. This means that soon there will be skilled workers to fill the needs of the industry.
Information on the second cohort, set to begin June of 2019, will be available in fall 2018.
For more information on Moraine Park programs and service, visit morainepark.edu.