LUMA breaks ground on $10M training facility in Canóvanas
Company executives and government officials broke ground on the future LUMA College for Technical Training, a $10 million training facility being funded by LUMA parent companies ATCO and Quanta Services.
Assessments, onboarding and workforce development are already underway at the LUMA College site, which will become fully operational in phases over the next few months to train the Puerto Rico-based technical workers who will contribute to the transformation of the island’s electric power transmission and distribution (T&D) system.
The LUMA College is a “value-added project” from LUMA Energy, the company that will operate Puerto Rico’s energy transmission and distribution (T&D) system for the next 15 years through a public private partnership with the Government of Puerto Rico, company officials said.
“Today, all the hard work LUMA has been conducting to give this beautiful island the 21st century electric power system it deserves begins to materialize,” said Wayne Stensby, president of LUMA.
“It is a substantial investment from our parent companies that brings LUMA’s culture of People First, Safety Always, to concrete reality. Here, our employees will develop the skills, knowledge and behaviors to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric infrastructure, pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in the industry and, what’s more important, return safely home to their families every day,” he said during a news conference at the site.
The LUMA College campus is being built on a 24-acre plot in the San Isidro Industrial Park in the municipality of Canóvanas. During the construction phase, approximately 50 jobs will be created.
“The construction of the LUMA College for Technical Training is an example of helping a community build its own future. Providing training and good, well-paying jobs is a foundation for growing the economy and improving the livelihoods of Puerto Ricans, one of the many ways LUMA will be an instrument for good,” said Nancy Southern, CEO of ATCO.
The campus will include an outdoor training yard, a learning lab and classrooms, administrative offices and equipment and parking lots. LUMA College will offer customized education and practical training for LUMA employees and the next generation of skilled electric workers in Puerto Rico.
The LUMA College for Technical Training and its programs are modeled after the Northwest Lineman College (NLC), a leading technical training institution run by Quanta Services that has four campuses across the United States.
“At LUMA, as at Quanta, our most important asset is our people. They differentiate us, and every decision is made based on how it will affect our employees, our customers and our communities,” said Earl “Duke” Austin, Jr., CEO of Quanta Services.
“We’re here for the people of Puerto Rico because they deserve better. Better reliability, better customer service and better safety and training,” he said.
The public-private partnership signed last year with LUMA to run Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s T&D system has stirred significant controversy regarding some of its terms and conditions. Numerous organizations, as well as the Electric Industry Workers Union (UTIER, in Spanish) — PREPA’s main labor group — have called for its cancellation.
However, during his State of the Government address, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said he is not willing to revert the contract, but is open to amending it — something to which LUMA has expressed its opposition.