Consumers Energy, Utility Workers Union Open New Center, Putting Training Responsibility in Employees' Hands

Jun 20, 2014, 15:22 ET from Consumers Energy

POTTERVILLE, Mich., June 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials from Consumers Energy and the Utility Workers Union of America celebrated the opening of a new training center this morning, christening a location that will provide training to as many as 2,500 Consumers Energy employees from the union that represents them.

"This training center embodies a joint commitment to empower our employees by giving them the tools and knowledge to get the job done safely and correctly. They can feel engaged in and proud of the important work they do for the Michigan residents we serve," said Dan Malone, Consumers Energy's senior vice president for distribution operations and engineering and transmission. "These are our employees, our neighbors and Michigan jobs."

The 10,000-square-foot training center in Potterville, southwest of Lansing, features seven classrooms and related labs. There, employees will build and sharpen their skills in meter reading, gas service appliance repair and other natural gas- and electric-related service fields.

The center grew from an agreement last year between Consumers Energy and the Utility Workers Union. The UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund leased an existing Potterville office building, and it is also moving its home office from Southfield to the location. The building was remodeled entirely by Michigan labor.

The union will provide training to Consumers Energy workers it represents, a new approach for the company and one that positions it as a leader in the energy industry.

"We want to set the standard of excellence for training utility workers to do their work to the best of their abilities," said Pat Dillon, president of the Michigan State Utility Workers Council. "We're confident we can transform the way we prepare employees, providing a better outcome for them and the Consumers Energy customers they serve throughout Michigan."

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: News release announcing partnership between Consumers Energy and the UWUA:

PHOTOS: View and download photos from today's ceremony:

SOURCE Consumers Energy