The Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) and Great Lakes Energy Cooperative have launched a special project to explore options for the future of the Great Lakes Energy Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program.

“Great Lakes Energy has been providing quality instruction and leadership in our apprenticeship lineman program for more than two decades,” said Craig Borr, MECA CEO. “However, because of the resources necessary to successfully operate a program of this importance, Great Lakes has asked MECA to explore a possible transition of the program, and how that might best be accomplished.”

The current program is a collaborative effort between Great Lakes Energy and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #876, and is accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor. It combines a series of classroom learning, field exercises and on-the-job training to prepare apprentices for the tasks and responsibilities they will need to perform as utility line workers. This apprenticeship program provides critically important training to approximately 75 employees of cooperatives, municipalities, and investor-owned utilities throughout Michigan every year.

“Our goal is to develop a recommendation and implementation plan for a self-sufficient, financially sustainable program that will deliver best-in-class apprentice line worker education and ongoing training well into the future,” Borr said.

MECA has formed a project team to lead this process, as has received input and strategic direction from a steering committee comprised of both electric cooperative and municipal electric professionals. You can learn more about this project and provide your own feedback and suggestions online at