Avangrid’s First Class of Lineworker Interns Graduate from Industry-Leading Union Scholars Program
In partnership with UWUA Local 470-1 and Avangrid subsidiary UI, the 10-week Union Scholars Program provided 9 students with real-world electric utility training, and scholars will receive offers of full-time employment contingent on 2024 high school graduation
For additional photos of today’s graduation, please click here.
ORANGE, Conn. — August 24, 2023 — Today, United Illuminating, a subsidiary of Avangrid (NYSE: AGR), together with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) 470-1, announced the successful graduation of nine high school students from the inaugural Union Scholars Program, a 10-week internship for rising high school seniors to receive training in electric utility lineworking. The Union Scholars Program is the first of its kind across Avangrid companies, and it leads the electric utility industry in providing offers of employment to the scholars, contingent on their high school graduation and being 18 years of age or older.
“For the last ten weeks, these nine talented scholars have worked hard with UI’s Electric Operations and the Overhead and Underground Lineworking teams, and today, all their work has culminated in this momentous graduation day,” said Pedro Azagra, CEO of Avangrid, Inc. “I am proud that our company has led the entire industry in welcoming rising high school seniors to learn the challenging, essential work of front-line utility workers. With the critical need to usher in a new generation to our workforce, I hope the standard we have set is replicated across the nation, and I look forward to our own reiteration in coming years.”
The graduation consisted of hands-on demonstrations for the graduates to show what they have learned throughout the course of the summer. With all presentations taking place on de-energized lines, the scholars: set up and repaired a fuse on an overhead line; reviewed the installation of a transformer; built a cross arm; reviewed how to install a residential meter; and climbed a pole with the necessary attire and safety equipment. Each scholar spoke and performed the tasks at each of the stations for an audience of approximately 50 people, including the scholars’ family, friends, and loved ones as well as teams from Avangrid, UI, and UWUA Local 470-1.
“The partnership between Avangrid, UI, and UWUA Local 470-1 in bringing this inaugural Union Scholars Program to its successful completion today was truly rewarding to see,” said Frank Reynolds, President & CEO of United Illuminating. “With the challenges our industry faces, it is more important than ever that we invest in building a talented workforce right here in Connecticut, and I am proud of how these students have pioneered this program with exceedingly open, positive, and motivated attitudes. Recruiting technical high school students from two of the largest areas in UI’s service territory – and watching them successfully demonstrate their skills in today’s graduation ceremony – helps us to be an even better company for the communities we serve.”
Following a rigorous recruitment and interview process, UI’s Senior Manager of Regional Operations Christine Pariseau, Avangrid’s Human Resources team, and UWUA Local 470-1 President Moses Rams selected nine students from technical high schools in the UI service territory to participate in the paid internship and training program. Five of the Union Scholars will graduate next year from Eli Whitney Technical High School in Hamden, and four will graduate from Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport. Over the last 10 weeks, they received training in safety, operations, and maintenance with the Overhead and Underground lineworking team as well as the Electric Operations team.
“When Christine and I first began developing our ideas for the Union Scholars Program, we thought we would be teaching them something – but in reality, they have taught us so much more,” said Moses Rams, President of UWUA Local 470-1 and Chief Line Crew Leader at UI. “Their energy, hard work, and willingness to go the extra mile have inspired and motivated all of us on the UI Line Crew and in Electric Operations. We couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments these nine talented students have made this summer, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they complete their senior year.”
“I was pleased so many of Avangrid’s Human Resources team joined and participated in the Union Scholars’ pivotal graduation today to see the fruit of their recruitment and talent development work,” said Kyra Patterson, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Avangrid, Inc. “Creating a pipeline from our region’s technical schools to good-paying union jobs is exactly the kind of innovative work that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in Connecticut’s largest companies, and I am excited to work with our teams at Avangrid, UI, and UWUA Local 470-1 to continue to grow this program in the future.”