AMARILLO, TX (PRESS RELEASE) - Xcel Energy has enlarged its Amarillo technical training facilities with new classroom space and high-tech simulators that prepare crews to handle the toughest real-life job challenges and arrive home safely at the end of the day.
The training facility is part of the larger Amarillo Technical Center, known as the ATC, located at 7801 E. Interstate 40, which for the past several years has been ground zero for a historic expansion of the region's high-voltage transmission network.
Xcel Energy has invested close to $1.6 billion in new transmission lines and substations across Texas and New Mexico since 2011 in order to boost the reliability and capacity of lines that power the regional economy. In advance of this work, the company enlarged its transmission operations facilities in 2010 when it adapted the old Amarillo Auto Auction and consolidated its transmission operations and training facilities into one campus. The added work also required the company to step up training for new craft employees such as linemen, electricians, substation technicians and heavy equipment operators. Safety is emphasized as much as skill in these training programs, where apprentice linemen and electricians work through four years of on-the-job training on their way to journeyman status.
"The facility houses large, modern and professional classrooms and lab facilities, creating a central home for the advanced training necessary to keep our customers in lights and our folks safe," said Mark Palacio, Xcel Energy technical field safety and training supervisor.
The training center provides a home office for a host of technical trainers and safety personnel, allowing them to work more efficiently, whether refreshing a seasoned foreman's expertise or stepping new employees through the wide variety of apprenticeship programs that involve work on distribution networks, substations and transmission facilities.
The training encompasses everything from CPR and first aid to the proper use of evolving protective equipment and the electromechanical, solid state and microprocessor world of relay technicians.
"Customers benefit from the improved efficiencies of having a dedicated training center," said Justin Shelton, senior technical instructor in Xcel Energy's transmission training group. "The center supports our company's goal of having a safe and highly skilled workforce."
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