Best of the Best is Goal of National Electric Training Initiative

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"Midwest ENERGY Association is taking the best training pieces from great companies like Duke, ComEd, DTE Energy, Integrys, Ameren, We Energies, Vectren and more and combining them into an all-new "Best of the Best" online and instructor-led electric training program every company and vocational school can use," explained J. D. Street, manager of technical training for Vectren and Chair of the Midwest ENERGY Association's National Electric Training Initiative.

We're taking the best training pieces from great companies like Duke, ComEd, DTE Energy, Integrys, Ameren, We Energies, Vectren and more and combining them into an all-new

"We're taking the best training pieces from great companies like Duke, ComEd, DTE Energy, Integrys, Ameren, We Energies, Vectren and more and combining them into an all-new "Best of the Best" online and instructor-led electric training program every company and vocational school can use," explained J. D. Street, manager of technical training for Vectren and Chair of the Midwest ENERGY Association's (MEA) National Electric Training Initiative.

"We outlined the curriculum in early 2008 and began compiling content in the various disciplines - overhead, underground, substation, metering, and so on," offered Donna Hake, manager of customer operations training at We Energies. "There will be pre-apprentice and apprentice level materials plus written and performance tests. We are actually starting at the end---what is it that a pre-apprentice or an apprentice must be able to do well and safely--then building the learning materials they need to ensure success. OSHA and NESC regulations are being very carefully checked against our content as well, we want the materials to be fully compliant with the latest regulations."

"It is exciting to be able to create a complete program that every company can rely on. We are building it with the understanding that most companies will customize it. Everyone is proud of their current training, but everyone also acknowledges that their program can be even better with updated content and more multi-media and simulations Online learning is very cost-effective and the instructor-led option allows instructors to really focus on critical learning elements. With this program we can all have a very high level of training for only a fraction of the cost of doing it ourselves," said Michael Stremel, operations training manager at Midwest Energy, Inc.

"The metering subject matter expert (SME) team met last November at Northern Indiana Public Service (NIPSCO) to develop metering-related performance evaluations and in December another SME team focused on Overhead at Kansas City Power and Light," said Kris Emaus, manager of training for NiSource, Inc. "Next, the underground team will meet in Springfield, Illinois in January."

"The heart of the program is a combination of the amazing expertise and content each company brings to the process," explains Don Szambelan, chief learning officer for MEA, "plus the adult learning experts, course builders, and computer graphic professionals that MEA has developed. These courses will be engaging, filled with learning, but they will be enjoyable too."

"We are very proud to make this exciting project work for our industry," said Patrick Van Beek, president of MEA. "Our board has given us great support and encouragement. Our EnergyU.org learning portal has over 200 courses--including many electric courses and we serve tens of thousands of students all across the country."

The Electric Training Initiative offers complete course materials and enrolled companies also get full access to all the training elements--common task list, performance evaluations, written content, and graphics. The courses will run on all major learning management systems whether internet or intranet based. For information contact John Gann vice president, electric services for MEA at (651) 289-9600 x105 or go to http://www.midwestenergy.org.

Midwest ENERGY Association (MEA) serves the people that bring electricity and natural gas to American homes and businesses. MEA was founded as a training association over 100 years ago by visionary distribution utilities in the Midwest to improve safety and efficiency. Utility companies nationwide now benefit from MEA's industry roundtables, operations conferences, and other events. Members collaborated to develop EnergyU, the world's premier online training and testing system for the gas and electric utility distribution industry. Our not-for-profit fee structure delivers to members and subscribers the best possible training at the lowest possible cost in the areas of natural gas, liquids, OSHA, electric, and leadership training.

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Elizabeth Fischer

John Gann
Midwest ENERGY Association
651-289-9600+105
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