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Front Page » December 5, 2006 » Local News » Report gauges progress at energy training center
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Report gauges progress at energy training center

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Steve Burge, director of the Western Energy Training Center delivers the facility's first progress report. The report shows that during September over $130,000 came into the center. Leaders at the facility have been very active in contacting and coordinating programs and possible programs with private industry associations as well as individual companies according to the progress report.

The Western Energy Training Center is off to a good start in many different ways, according to a report issued in fall 2006.

First, the center received not only federal and state support, but a lot of local support from businesses and government as well.

Second, the center has begun offering classes which have not only provided opportunities for Castle Valley residents, but have impacted the local economy due to attendees who have traveled to Carbon County to be a part of the sessions.

The initial money for the center came from a United States Department of Labor grant for $2.7 million to provide broad-based industry training, as well as industry specific training in coal, oil/gas, electrical generation, transportation and related services.

The move to develop the project came from a need perceived by the federal government for high skills training in the energy field as prices for oil climbed and the need for new energy sources grew.

In addition, the energy industry has been complaining for years that training for specific jobs outside of the workplace has not existed in a real form in the Rocky Mountain region.

The center is set up to partner with the College of Eastern Utah, the Utah Division of Workforce Services, Southeast Applied Technology College, the division of rehabilitation services, the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association along with other state and federal agencies on many different aspects.

Other contributions to the center have come from these partners and private industry.

Figures show that, up until September, $132,748.73 has come into the center for the benefit of WETC.

The total figure registers at $141,442.23 if leveraged amounts involving federal funds are counted.

While there are still some steps of organization to fulfill before the end of the year, WETC has achieved several major goals toward forming the faculty and educational services.

The center has a board of directors, consisting of individuals from some of the partner organizations as well as from private industry.

The training center has a director, Steve Burge; a program director, Robert Topping; a chief learning officer, Stan Martineau; an administrative financial assistant, Tammy Auberger; and a grant administrator, Paul Birdsey.

In addition, Sam Quigley has agreed to be the industry coordinator as a volunteer at the facility.

Several members of the CEU faculty and SEATC will be instructing at the center.

During the past few months, the leaders of the center have been active in contacting and coordinating programs and possible programs with private industry associations as well as individual companies, according to the report.

The leaders have also been participating in various conferences and shows where they can expose more private employers to the fact that WETC is up and operating, giving employers a place to send workers and managers for training.

While the center is nearly complete, faculty development is still in process.

However, the leaders of the center decided that training programs needed to be initiated as soon as possible.

Therefore, from July through September, 437 people passed through the center for various kinds of training.

The first training offered at the center was provided by the Washington Group International.

Washington Group International sent the operation's director of safety training to instruct a class on accident investigation and controlling hazardous energy. Less than 20 students attended the classes.

From that time until early fall, the center offered special classes on precision maintenance/best practices, a program for Savage Trucking employees on safety.

The local training facility has also offered a United States Mine Safety and Health surface refresher course, a class for the national, Utah and Colorado mining associations on updated safety legislation and a symposium for the energy industry.

At present, Martineau is setting up regular courses for attendees.

By the end of February 2007, the center hopes to have a stable of 40 courses lined up for participants.

Topping is presently working on an Energy Workforce Readiness Certificate and the WETC will seek approval from CEU for the program.

The entire course is "innovative in the energy industry and is aimed at expanding the workforce," according to the fall report gauging the progress at the center.

And the course will "help fulfill most objectives of the grant," added the report.

An updated report will be forthcoming concerning the last quarter of 2006 after the first of the year.

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