Utility Leadership Academy Serves Over 1,000 Energy Managers At Substantial Savings

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The Utility Leadership Academy (ULA), the energy industry's on-line emerging and experienced leader training system, is now serving over 1,000 utility and contractor employees. "ULA has the core leadership and management skills our future energy industry leaders need," explains Rick Legleitner, Manager of Employee Development and Skilling for Consumers Energy and a senior member of the MEA Team managing the program.

ULA has the core leadership and management skills our future energy industry leaders need

The Utility Leadership Academy (ULA), the energy industry's on-line emerging and experienced leader training system, is now serving over 1,000 utility and contractor employees.

ULA is a collaboration between Alliant Energy, Ameren, Citizens Gas, Consumers Energy, Henkels & McCoy, Integrys, Madison Gas & Electric, NiSource, Vectren, We Energies, Xcel, and numerous other utility companies and contractors. It is organized and managed by Midwest Energy Association (MEA) through Energy University which serves more than 400 electric, gas and liquids companies with on-line and instructor led field skills and knowledge courses. Both systems together serve more than 70,000 employee students nationwide.

"ULA has the core leadership and management skills our future energy industry leaders need," explains Rick Legleitner, manager of employee development and skilling for Consumers Energy and a senior member of the MEA Team managing the program. "All the participating companies were looking for a program that not only has very strong content, but will also save money for each company as well."

A team of senior level Workforce Development and Talent Management professionals from the collaborating companies decided what the competency needs are. They decided what courses both emerging and experienced leaders need in today's energy company environment. Then the team competitively selected the best vendors available--SkillSoft and Harvard Business Publishing. Where specific industry content was needed, the team asked MEA to build courses to supplement these nationally recognized vendor materials.

"Our people like the 24/7 access to the courses," expressed Angela Galloway, talent management specialist for Omaha Public Power District. Even employees currently in the field who aspire to a management role can enhance their skills while still putting in a full day on their current job. It makes a difference that a large group of industry management development professionals are behind the course selection and management of the Utility Leadership Academy. Younger employees are very used to on-line learning and the response from older employees has been positive as well."

"It is an important part of our culture to promote from within at Henkels & McCoy," says Paul Stinson, program administrator, operator qualification "the Utility Leadership Academy system lets us provide our people, who are often scattered across the country serving our utility customers with the chance to develop when and where they can get to the Internet. I like the two levels: the emerging leader and the experienced leader. There is good content there regardless of how experienced a person is. We tested the system first, but we are expanding the number of logins to the system so more employees can learn."

"We have several hundred logins to the Academy at Consumers Energy," continues Legleitner, "we mix the ULA courses in with instructor led training and a portfolio of assignments to provide real world experience and learning. We like the ULA system, because it offers three important pieces: the Harvard Management MentorPlus program, selected SkillSoft courses and some MEA built courses. We can, however, tailor selected courses to specific work groups and departments. We have gas and electric distribution employees and power plant people in the program. Employees like the flexibility; there is no limit to course and performance support access. Everyone is pressed for time, but if an employee can find just 30 minutes they can get into a course." A CMS team member tracks course completions at the corporate level.

"Saving money on management development may not have been the primary driver for developing the ULA, but the savings are a real bonus," says Patrick Van Beek, president of MEA. "By pooling the buying power of all the companies, and those that join now, we can offer a whole year's worth of management development courses for $150 or less per person. That's less than the cost of most one day seminars at a local hotel."

For more information about ULA visit http://www.utilityleadershipacademy.com.

About Energy University (EnergyU)
EnergyU is home to over 600 energy companies and nearly 70,000 employees nationwide. Delivering effective energy specific multi-media learning furthers MEA's reputation as one of the leading energy service organizations in the nation.

About Midwest ENERGY Association (MEA)
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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