Training grant prepares a “smart” workforce   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Electricity, Safety, Smart Grid

Avista is powering a future workforce through construction and training at Jack Stewart Training Facility

Jack Stewart Training School Workforce
Shown above is employees at Avista
preparing for the installation of the
pad mount switchgear, which will
energize the training substation at the
Jack Stewart Training Facility.
Avista employees have been hard at work building a new training substation at Avista’s Jack Stewart Training Facility scheduled to go online in August. Just last week, they reached a major milestone in the project when they installed an on-and-off switch to energize the substation. These updates to Avista’s facilities will prepare our current and future workforce for the technology they will need to maintain and operate the smart grid of the future.

The future substation will energize Safety Town at Jack Stewart. Safety Town is a small, 10-building lot representing a typical residential neighborhood. Safety Town prepares gas and electric apprentices, journeymen and pre-line school students for real-life scenarios they would encounter while working on distribution service.
The connected facilities will create an authentic training environment that will simulate outage conditions, and test smart grid devices used to isolate different sections of the electric system – all with the goal of minimizing power outages and improving reliability.

An Interactive Curriculum
Part of the Workforce Training Project includes developing a web-based, interactive curriculum. With the help of Avista’s subject matter experts, the updated curriculum will include smart grid features and practices our industry workforce will need to learn.

About the Workforce Training Project 

Switch mechanism

Shown above is a switch
mechanism on the junction box
which will simplify some steps to
energize the training substation
being built at Jack Stewart.
The Workforce Training Project is part of the triad of smart grid projects Avista has been working on over the past few years after being awarded matching stimulus grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. The other two smart grid projects are Spokane Smart Circuits and the Smart Grid Demonstration Project in Pullman.

The Workforce Training Project was made possible thanks to a partnership between Avista, the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy Smart Grid project, along with several utilities and colleges in the region. The partnership was infused with a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop the Workforce Training Project.

As our industry continues to evolve, new “smart” technologies will present challenges and opportunities for the existing and future workforce. New jobs and skill sets will emerge. Thanks to the Workforce Training Program, Avista has positioned itself to train this workforce of the future.
Learn more
For more information on this project, check out the Work Force Training Project on

You can also learn more about receiving training and education to become a qualified candidate for the ten occupations targeted through the project, visit Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy for more information.

Posted by  System Account  on  6/8/2012
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