January 23, 2022

CEU recieves $2.7 million energy grant

The College of Eastern Utah received a $2.7 million grant to create an energy training center in December 2005.
Partnered with the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association; Utah Department of Workforce Services; Division of Rehabilitation Services, Eastern Utah District, the energy center can potentially train 3,6000 workers with the capacity to train up to 2,100 people annually.

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The College of Eastern Utah received a $2.7 million grant to create an energy training center in December 2005.
Partnered with the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association; Utah Department of Workforce Services; Division of Rehabilitation Services, Eastern Utah District, the energy center can potentially train 3,6000 workers with the capacity to train up to 2,100 people annually.
The curriculum will teach the energy industry’s core competencies, leading to a knowledge base transferable across multiple energy industry sectors, aiding employees looking to enhance their skills for promotion or career changes; and create a conduit among local, state and federal workforce agencies and the energy industry to more effectively leverage workforce system resources to meet industry needs.
The College of Eastern Utah and its partners will consolidate training programs common to multiple sectors of the energy industry. Foundational courses will include safety, instrumentation, and technical/skills certification. Courses also will be offered to Hispanic and American Indian populations in their native languages. Upon completion of the initial curriculum, additional training tailored to mining, power generation, and the oil and gas industry careers will be provided. Training will be accomplished through classroom instruction at the CEU Energy Center, its satellite and sister campuses, as well as through hands-on experience at the Center’s on-site mine and other employer-chosen work sites.
One of the reasons the grant was given to CEU is because Eastern Utah is rich in oil and natural gas, is home to several electric-power plants, and has long been among the nation’s leading coal producers. Due to growing global demand for energy, an evolving labor force, and the increasingly technical nature of the industry, Eastern Utah energy industry employers need workers in greater numbers and workers need more advanced skills to meet industry needs. Presently, there are very few institutions that offer training in multiple energy sectors and skill levels.
According to the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative, it supports comprehensive partnerships among employers, the public workforce system, and other entities that have developed innovative approaches to meet workforce needs while effectively helping workers find good jobs with good wages and promising career pathways. Solutions are based on the energy industry’s priorities that address the following issues: Employers expect that up to half of their current workers will retire over the next five to 10 years; stereotyping of energy careers as unstable, dirty, and low-skilled causes qualified workers, especially youth, to be unaware of the many highly skilled, well-paying career opportunities, and many training programs were scaled back or closed due to a downturn in the industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Programs have not ramped up at the same rate that the industry’s need has rebounded.
Other issues include employers in all sectors of the industry need workers who are more proficient in math, science, and, especially, technology than workers in the past, creative solutions are necessary to help experienced workers who will be retiring transfer their knowledge and skills to their replacements and to help new workers gain necessary skills as fast as possible and few industry-defined, portable credentials have been developed in the energy industry. Additionally, some energy occupations lack unambiguous career ladders necessary for changing a perception that working in the industry is a viable career choice.
These energy industry grants are intended to provide genuine solutions, leadership, and models for partnerships that can be replicated in different parts of the country.
Steve Burge, Carbon County commissioner and CEU criminal justice program director will be interim director of the center until a full time director can be named. “This is the most positive economic news the Carbon-Emery area has had in some time. Many people had written off the energy industry as a good future for our kids. That was very premature. Natural resources was the number one growth field in Utah that last two years. But now there is a dire shortage of trained people in these important fields and it is our hope that the center will rectify that problem and provide opportunities for our local youth. Jobs in this area tend to be higher paying.”
His immediate goals include:
a.   Focus on retaining an attorney and getting a contract signed for the purchase of Willow Creek property by Feb. 1st. Solid progress has been made on that front so we should have an attorney lined and a contract signed by that time.   If we are successful in getting the purchase, we will acquire three buildings totaling more than 38,000 square feet.   There is an office building with 44 offices, conference rooms, a historic mining library, and substantial storage areas.   We will also acquire a versatile warehouse and top notch shop.   Further, the purchase includes over 600 acres, water rights, access to a rail spur, and gas rights.        
b.   Work on finding funding sources for the purchase and for the grant match. Recently, we have made substantial efforts working with the Gov. Jon Huntsman’s advisors and lawmakers to help them understand the substantial need for energy-related training in the state and the substantial upside for the state if this center is funded.   There is substantial interest in the proposed center around the state and a decent chance at getting some funding.  
 c.   Start working on organizational and curriculum issues. Jim Huffaker and Burge, through consultation with Jay Metzler, the former director of the Regional Energy Training Center in Farmington, New Mexico, are starting to work on these matters.   Metzler will serve as a paid consultant.   He was recognized nationally last-year for his work in Farmington concerning issues pertaining to organization of the operation and curriculum matters.  
 d.   Follow up with the National Mining Association about locating their western offices here in conjunction with Center. Announcements were made last summer that if we started this center they would locate here.   The potential economic benefits to the area are substantial.   Other companies may locate here as we become a hub for not only training but also for energy production activities.
 e.   Continue making contact with industry and identify companies interested in partnering in the project
 h.   Identify research and development projects that should be pursued, as well as renewable energy and reclamation programs that we can develop.   We have already made contact with many groups interested in partnering with us on these types of projects that look to the long-term energy issues.
Burge said, “we will bring in professionals to teach in the center. We need to move to the speed of business or we will be left behind. People demand an excellent product that is up to date and we plan to offer that program.”
“CEU is part of an elite group of energy centers in the nation that is innovative and bring all industries together,” he said.
The Board of Directors were set up in January for the center and include Sam Quigley, president; Rick Olsen; Jim Felton, Rod Hensley, Dave Sorrells, Ellis Pierce, Jerry Carlson; Dr. Ryan Thomas; Miles Nelson; Susan Etzel and Karl Kraync. Three at-large seats will be elected later.
The board has several tasks including acquiring additional funding from the Utah Legislature. State Sen. Mike Dmitrich and State Rep.-Brad King have pledged to support that effort.
The board is also seeking to purchase the old Willow Creek mine site to locate the main campus of the center. They will also be tasked with gaining even wider industry support, both financial and participatory.

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