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Ameren Illinois unveils new workforce training center
Belleville facility will house latest smart grid equipment; help prepare next generation of utility workers

Officials with Ameren Illinois were joined by local elected officials, state lawmakers and union leaders today at the grand opening of its new Metro East Training Center in Belleville. Many of the projected 600 new jobs created through the company’s infrastructure modernization plan will be trained here.

“The new Metro East Training Center represents our commitment to creating jobs and to building the next generation workforce. We are focused on building a 21st century energy delivery system that is robust and flexible enough to meet our customers’ needs,” said Richard J. Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois.  “This training center will help our current and future employees gain the knowledge and skills needed to work safely and efficiently with smart grid technology, so we can improve reliability for our customers.”

The training center, located on Illinois Route 15 just east of Green Mount Road in Belleville, sits on an 11.5 acre site. It features state-of-the-art training rooms, a high bay for large equipment training, an indoor pole training area, and additional training space. Up to 100 workers will train in this facility on the latest smart grid technologies and electric and gas techniques at any given time. Electric service training will focus on:

• Line work for those responsible for maintaining Ameren Illinois’ nearly 46,000 miles of electric distribution lines.
• Smart grid training to support the advanced technology and automated equipment that will be deployed to improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric distribution system.
• Electrical relay training to support the new advanced relay systems that will be a critical component in maintaining distribution system reliability.

“This fall and over the next 10 years you will see our linemen, gas workers and contractors working hard to modernize our electric and natural gas distribution system throughout our service territory,” Mark said. “This facility will play a major role in preparing our Ameren Illinois co-workers to meet our customers’ expectations.”

The company is considering a plan to construct a new gas training facility at the site. Ameren Illinois is also updating its Decatur Training Facility to add a second meter training section. Apprentices will get hands-on experience troubleshooting electric meter issues in a controlled environment. Additional overhead and underground facilities were added this year to provide further opportunities for hands on training on various electrical components.

Ameren Illinois has invested approximately $6 million in building and upgrading the Metro East Training Center.

More information about Ameren Illinois’ infrastructure modernization plan, including employment opportunities and application information, is available at AmerenIllinois.com/MAP.

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers in Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com or find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois.


CONTACT: Stacey Shangraw, 309.677.5073, sstockton-shangraw@ameren.com; Brian Bretsch, 618.343.8087, bbretsch@ameren.com; Marcelyn Love, 217.535.5116, mlove@ameren.com