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Electric Line Worker Program proving successful for ECC, National Grid

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BUFFALO – An educational effort borne of industrial necessity continues to make progress, as the Overhead Electric Line Worker Training Program at Erie Community College — part of the school's Energy Utility Technology Certificate Program — is into its seventh year. National Grid, which helped design the program curriculum, has hired 42 graduates of the program who are now working in various skilled field positions in the company's electric operations division.

ECC and National Grid collaborated to create and launch the program in 2007, which produced its first class of 12 graduates. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 97 provided additional support in designing the program to meet industry standards. The program was developed to help address a critical shortage of qualified workers, specifically overhead line workers and technicians, in the utility industry locally and across the nation. The program has graduated 112 students so far, including the 42 currently working for National Grid.

"We continue to be very pleased with the quality of graduates we have been able to hire from this program," said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Buffalo. "The partnership with Erie Community College has paid tremendous dividends for National Grid and other companies in our industry. As we continue to plan for future retirements and other work force adjustments, we will rely on programs like the one at ECC for quality candidates."

"Students attend ECC because of our emphasis on career-focused education," said ECC President Jack Quinn. "It's our job to not only provide these students with the classes and training to find good-paying jobs, but promising careers, right here in Western New York. This partnership with National Grid has allowed us to do this, and we look forward to continuing to do this in the semesters ahead."

"Graduates of the Overhead Electric Line Worker program have the hands-on skills and technical knowledge to step right into good-paying jobs that are in-demand locally and around the country," said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "These individuals have the technological and safety training necessary to make an immediate impact on the local job market as they replace retirees who are leaving within the next few years, and I thank ECC and National Grid for putting this program in place."

The program offers theory and practical training in the electric utility industry, including extension classroom work combined with hands-on experience at ECC's indoor and outdoor training facilities. Heavy emphasis is placed on safe work practices. The program prepares qualified graduates for jobs such as line mechanics, cable splicers, station electricians, meter and relay technicians and other specialized functions in the industry.

Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.
For more information, please visit www.ecc.edu or call (716) 851-1ECC.

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country. National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

For more information please visit our website at www.nationalgridus.com.


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