Open post to Mary Powell

On PEG-TV’s Insight show, I asked Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, the company buying out CVPS, about the possibility of teaming up with Stafford Tech Center to develop a specialty in developing electrical technicians.

Rutland is, after all, about to become the operations center for the new, combined utility, and CV has opened its demonstration site with an eye to working with Stafford and similar programs, so there’s some real synergy there. And last year Stafford opened programs for training truck drivers and beauticians; a steady job as an electrical technician would be a step up from either of those choices.

As the smart grid takes root here and nationwide, utilities will need workers with new skill sets, particularly as the labor force is aging. There’s an opportunity there for young Vermonters who are perhaps not traditional college material.

Mary said her company doesn’t have a hard time recruiting techs, because Vermont is a great place to live and because a lot of GMP’s line crews are second- or third-generation. Rutland is a second- or third-generation kind of city, and Stafford has an excellent reputation for putting out young people with good training in the trades.

If GMP wants to gain quick acceptance here — instead of being the outside company that bought out the local utility — developing a training program with Stafford to put Rutland kids at the head of the hiring queue (with GMP/CVPS or any other company) would be a big step.

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