Don’t Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Oct
2015
30

Ann Arbor IBEW Local Champions the Intersection of Apprenticeship, Green Energy Progress

IBEW Local 252 Solar Wind apprenticeship

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In Ann Arbor, two 30-foot wind turbines and a bank of 60 solar panels line the entrance of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 252 training center, where apprentices learn skills that keep the union on the forefront of green energy while lowering their electrical bills.  A recent open house, featured in The Building Tradesman Newspaper, showcased the new 16.8 KW solar array, 2.4 KW wind turbines, and the car battery charging station that are now permanent features of the training center.  The wind and solar curriculum taught by the Local 252 is part of the $1.5 million the union spends annually on training.

This year’s additions to the forward-thinking fleet have produced 17.3 megawatts of electricity and reduced the apprentices’ energy bills by 60 percent.  But workforce development that benefits the state as a whole is what’s really on everyone’s mind. Ann Arbor Electrical JATC Director John Salyer told Building Tradesmen:

“As we learn and work with this equipment, we’re better able to provide for our contractors a trained workforce that brings knowledge and skills that they need.  And that will in turn bring savings to the end user.”

Mike Crawford, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, praised the solar and wind installations:

“It’s an awesome installation, and a great testament to what happens when union members and contractors strive to meet the needs of their customers.  All the training that you find here for apprentices and journeymen and women embraces the goal of offering the best-trained workforce possible.”

The challenges created by Michigan’s climate provide the perfect learning opportunity for young apprentices.  So far, Local 252 has worked on every DTE Energy solar project in their jurisdiction. The union recently completed a 1.1 megawatt solar array at Domino’s Farm near Ann Arbor. In August they announced an 800 kw solar array coming to Ypsilanti.  

Local 252 Business Manager, Tim Hutchins, touted the wind and solar curriculum:

“Our commitment to solar and wind puts us at the forefront of these energy technologies.  And we work in partnership everyday, labor and management, in a training environment that’s self-funded and uses no tax dollars. And this training and everything else we do puts us at the best possible position to bring a great result to our end users.”

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