By Business First of Buffalo

An overhead line training school at Erie Community College opened Thursday, part of the two-year collegeâ¿¿s efforts to train future energy utility workers.

The Energy Utilities Technology certification program awaits State University of New York and state Department of Education approval, ECC official said. It is being developed in conjunction with National Grid, which contributed $25,000 and provided technical assistance to ECC to construct the school, and combines the collegeâ¿¿s overhead electric line worker and gas field operations technician training programs into one certificate program.

The power company began working with ECC in 2005 to fill the shortage of qualified, entry-level workers in the energy utility field. It launched its overhead electric line worker program in January 2007,

⿿The availability of skilled labor is important to National Grid⿿s operations and to the future of the energy utility industry as a whole,⿝ Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive director of energy services delivery at National Grid, said in a statement. ⿿Our partnership with ECC helps us to develop a consistent source of specially trained personnel and provides a local avenue for formal training to support this integral part of our operations.⿝

The new school features 17 utility poles for student training. In addition to National Grid, it received support from gas utility companies and IBEW Local 97.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010