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Submitted by Director of Apprenticeship in Oklahoma Cynthia McClain & Edmond Electric's Michelle Trimberger

Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) and the City of Edmond’s electric utility, Edmond Electric, teamed up to bring the 2012 Municipal Lineworkers’ Rodeo to Edmond, Oklahoma on October 19, 2012.  The Rodeo is an opportunity for Lineworkers to compete to show their skills and knowledge through a series of events.

For the 3rd year in a row, MESO held the Rodeo in Edmond, Oklahoma at the Edmond Electric Lineworker Training Field, which proved to be an excellent venue for the event.  MESO and Edmond Electric partnered to make the Rodeo a big success.  So successful in fact, that the American Public Power Association announced that Edmond Electric will host the National Municipal Lineworkers’ Rodeo in 2014.  

MESO is an association of municipally-owned electric utilities that provide electric services to over 400,000 residents. Currently, 63 cities offer retail electric utility services in Oklahoma.  MESO provides a variety of services to its member-city workers, including electric line apprenticeship, job training and safety, supervisory training, on-site customer service and administration training, drug testing to meet federal mandates, and consultation on policy issues such as terms and conditions of electric service or rate policy.

MESO also provides administration services to the Municipal Gas Systems of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Gas Association thereby sharing the roles of energy efficiency with natural gas operations statewide.  Currently, there are 12 MESO partnered municipalities which sponsor Registered Apprenticeship programs in the occupation of Line Maintainer. 

Traditionally, the lineworkers’ rodeo begins with a flag raising ceremony.  The event is broken into several categories, including Journeyman events, Apprentice events, a Mutual Aid event, and Team event.  Both Journeyman and Apprentice events include a “hurt-man rescue event”, which simulates rescuing a 175 pound mannequin from a utility pole and starting CPR within four minutes.  The Mutual Aid event has become very popular with the competitors.  Names are drawn from each city, two journeyman and one apprentice, to form a team and compete in the event.  Because many cities within the State of Oklahoma have “mutual aid agreements” to offer assistance during catastrophic events, it provides lineworkers’ the opportunity to work with fellow lineman they may be called upon to serve with, or to help some day.  


At the conclusion of the rodeo, MESO provided unique trophies hand made by Edmond Supervisor Shannon Dodd, and a luncheon for attendees. 


If you would like more information on the MESO Municipal Lineworkers’ Rodeo, feel free to contact Michelle Trimberger at Michelle.trimberger@edmondok.com.

For more media coverage of the MESO Municipal Lineworkers’ Rodeo, visit the Stillwater News Press

The Shenandoah Valley Energy Partnership (SVEP) began as a collaborative effort to address emerging workforce development needs in the green energy sector and related industries.  In 2010, the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. saw an opportunity to align area efforts to train workers for the growing green industry sector and approached the Registered Apprenticeship office about joining the SVEP.  Today, hundreds of apprentices are being trained in multiple areas related to green energy.  Training opportunities exist in the areas of green technology manufacturing, energy efficient processes, technical support for renewable energies such as wind turbine and solar/photovoltaics, green-related construction trades, and sustainable construction and retrofitting.

Funded jointly by grant funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor and existing regional resources, the program aims to operate beyond the life of grant funding to continue preparing Virginia’s Shenandoah-area workers for green energy careers.  It’s truly a collaborative effort with several regional partners, including Lord Fairfax Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, Jackson River Technical Center, Valley Vocational Technical Center, Massanutten Technical Center, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Regional & Local Economic Development, and business partners from the region.   

In 2010, as part of an announcement of grant funding to support the initiative, Virginia Senator (D-VA) Mark Warner spoke on the importance of this effort. 

“The formation of the Shenandoah Valley Energy Partnership is exactly the kind of forward-looking collaboration we need to help jump-start our economy and create next-generation jobs in the clean energy field,” said Senator Warner. “This investment in training workers for new green energy represents an exciting opportunity for the entire Valley region.”

In August of 2012 the SVEP was recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship as a Trailblazer and Innovator Registered Apprenticeship program, one of 71 programs from throughout the country highlighted for their embodiment of the 21st Century Vision for Registered Apprenticeship.  During the Department’s August 1, National Education and Action Summit in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the National Apprenticeship Act, SVEP Project Director Sharon Johnson was presented with a Certificate of Recognition as a Trailblazer and Innovator program by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Administrator of Apprenticeship John V. Ladd.

Ms. Johnson remarked on the benefits of the SVEP collaboration.

“The Shenandoah Valley region is poised to be a leader in the growth of green energy-related industries because of the aligned efforts of our Workforce Investment Board, Registered Apprenticeship, regional employers, and area economic development and education partners,” said Ms. Johnson.  “The training options our region’s workers have access to include excellent apprenticeship opportunities and the chance to prepare for well-paying careers as the green energy sector continues to expand.”

Read the Shenandoah Valley Energy Partnership Trailblazer and Innovator Fact Sheet for more on the partnership.  Also, to learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship opportunities available through the SVEP, be sure to visit http://svenergypartnership.com/index.php  

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