For generations, natural gas utilities have served communities and supported families through good-paying jobs and the opportunity for career advancement. Today, more than 4.1 million jobs are connected to the natural gas industry with constant innovation poised to ensure continued future growth. 83% of natural gas jobs are local, ensuring the benefits of the direct use of natural gas stay in the community.
Across the country, America’s natural gas utilities are partnering with the communities they serve to train the workforce of today and tomorrow. In Flint, Michigan, Consumers Energy is demonstrating its commitment to the community by building a $10.1 million gas training facility that will train more than 1,500 local employees who operate the region’s natural gas system. In addition, Consumers Energy will partner with local first responders to coordinate natural gas safety training opportunities for emergency responders. The multi-million-dollar investment called “Flint Gas City” will be located at the Flint Service Center.
Expected to be completed and open for training in spring 2023, the 1.4-acre facility will be the perfect place to train both new and existing employees on what to expect when confronted with a variety of real-world situations. The facility will include a mock neighborhood of mini-homes and businesses with functioning natural gas facilities, providing gas workers with an immersive experience into the environments, equipment, and scenarios they deal with every day.
“Flint Gas City is a breakthrough initiative that directly impacts our goal to provide world-class performance and deliver hometown service,” said Tonya Berry, senior vice president of Transformation and Engineering at Consumers Energy. “This facility, along with our training team, will provide the best possible preparation for our current and future workforce.”
“The development of this learning center in conjunction with the Michigan State Utility Workers Council is a testament to our strong partnership and commitment to ensuring our employees have the necessary training and resources to deliver safe, reliable natural gas to the communities where we live and serve,” said Amanda Wagenschutz, vice president of People and Culture Operations at Consumers Energy.
With only a few facilities like this across the country, LeeRoy Wells, senior vice president of Operations and a Flint native, said. “When it comes to training the next generations to work safely and to serve our customers, there is no better place to do that than right here in Flint, Michigan.”
At the facility’s groundbreaking in November, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley remarked “They are training individuals to be able to take great jobs right here in the city of Flint. I can only say ‘Thank You’ to the vision and the team that is putting this together. This is a great day in the city of Flint and a lighthouse of hope.”
Across the country, America’s natural gas utilities are partnering with the communities they serve to train the workforce of today and tomorrow. Learn more about the natural gas utility industry’s efforts to help employees gain the skills and education necessary to thrive at every stage of their career.
About the Author:
Frank Canavan is the state affairs manager for the American Gas Association.