A Powerful Partnership

MATC, We Energies and the City of Milwaukee join forces to expand the Electrical Power Distribution program

We Energies and City of Milwaukee partnership outdoors pic

MATC, We Energies and the City of Milwaukee join forces

MATC has supercharged its Electrical Power Distribution (EPD) technical diploma program, thanks to a surge of support from We Energies and the City of Milwaukee.

In April, MATC unveiled a partnership with the utility company and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) to add an EPD training facility in Milwaukee's Metcalfe Park neighborhood.

The 30-credit program covers the basics on electrical power distribution, rescue and safety, and general workplace communication. Students are prepared for entry-level electrical line worker positions, and graduates can use the training as a step toward apprenticeship.

"These are the people that when your lights go out, they go out to repair them," said Alderman Russell W. Stamper II, who represents Milwaukee's District 15, where the program expansion is unfolding.

The college's current EPD program accommodates only one section at the Mequon Campus, thus limiting enrollment. A second training facility at the revitalized site in the Metcalfe Park neighborhood will provide students greater access to classes and training, and attract a more diverse student population in Milwaukee.

The Metcalfe Park location combines land owned by We Energies and RACM. We Energies is dedicating a portion of its Metro North facility located at approximately North 31st and 32nd streets and West North Avenue. The company also is donating yard space and a trailer for classroom instruction and a small pole yard for field instruction.

RACM will commit vacant land located around North 30th Street from West Meinecke Avenue to West North Avenue. This area will be used for field instruction, allowing students to practice training where greater distance between poles is needed.

Metcalfe Community Bridges Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports neighborhood investment and revitalization, is joining the partnership and will work with RACM on the project's second phase to create a community gathering area at the southern end of the property.

"This is collaboration at its best," said Laura Bray, MATC's vice president of college advancement and external communications and executive director of the MATC Foundation. "Partners came together to expand training opportunities tied directly to high-demand, high-paying jobs. This will bring a new asset to the great Metcalfe Park neighborhood."

The expansion is being funded by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's Fresh Coast Protection Partnership, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, We Energies and MP Systems.

A first-year apprentice line worker can make $65,000 or more, said Matthew Reindl, an electrical power distribution instructor at MATC. An experienced line worker who travels to sites affected by natural disasters can make nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, he said.

"We're starving for line workers right now," Reindl said. "There's more demand on our power grid, which means more repairs are needed. There's no shortage of work."