When Wolverine Power Cooperative (Wolverine) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876 (IBEW Local 876) announced a partnership in May to continue utility linemen training in the state of Michigan, their partnership marked the beginning of the new Joint Michigan Apprentice Program (JMAP). The program’s inaugural class began in September, welcoming 61 apprentices from 28 Michigan utilities.
The new program features smaller, segmented classroom, training labs, and field training at a single location in Northern Michigan—Wolverine Power Cooperative’s Training Center in Lake City, Mich., located near Wolverine’s headquarters in Cadillac, Mich. In addition, Wolverine partnered with the Northwest Lineman College (NLC), an industry-leading educational institution that provides pre-apprentice, apprentice and journey-level training, to provide related instruction.
To construct the program’s climbing yard in time for classes, 32 workers from five cooperatives (Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Great Lakes Energy, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, Wolverine Power Cooperative) worked diligently to complete the 73-pole climbing yard in just eight days—two days less than initially planned and four times less than a project of this scale typically takes to complete.
The program has received positive initial feedback from instructors and apprentices alike, noting a well-run program and facility, knowledgeable instructors, and an appreciation for classroom and field training to be conducted at a single site.
With the first session of training successfully completed, Wolverine, IBEW Local 876, and NLC are all excited for the future success of JMAP and the next generation of lineworkers it will shape.
Enrollment for JMAP is now open for the next session of classes to be held in Spring 2018. Michigan utilities interested in participating can learn more by visiting www.MichiganApprentices.com.