New project has NIPSCO looking for job seekers
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 11, 2013 11:10PM
A crane prepares to lift a large portion or heavy-duty rebar support during ongoing construction at the NIPSCO R. M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield June 30, 2011. NIPSCO with the city of Michigan City and the Indiana Plan for Equal Employment will host information sessions Tuesday and Wednesday to help those seeking jobs connect with careers in the building trades. | File Photo~Sun-Times Media
Must be at least 18 years old
High school diploma or GED
Valid driver’s license
Mandatory drug screen
Updated: April 13, 2013 6:10AM
Job seekers looking for a chance to become part of the region’s trades may get an opportunity through Northern Indiana Public Service Co. as the company prepares for a $250 million environmental improvement project at its Michigan City Generating Station.
NIPSCO, in conjunction with the city of Michigan City and the Indiana Plan for Equal Employment, is hosting public information sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, designed to connect local job seekers with careers in the construction and building trades industry.
“We are collaborating on this because we are having a really big project (in Michigan City),” said Angie Wilson, with NIPSCO public affairs.
Construction on the project is set to begin this year with work continuing through 2016. Participation with the Indiana Plan opens doors to apprenticeship programs in the trades that can create a new career path for both new job seekers and those out of work looking to be retrained. The Indiana Plan for Equal Employment is a nonprofit agency with offices in Gary, Indianapolis and Evansville whose mission includes training minorities for union construction trade jobs.
The impact of these types of partnerships can have far-reaching effects, according to Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer.
“Civic-corporate partnerships such as this not only benefit the local economy, they help strengthen our community and work force,” Meer said.
Job seekers from the region may attend one of two events. Each meeting will begin with an informational session about the partnership program, the training needed and how candidates can participate. Officials from the Indiana Plan then do an assessment of potential interested workers following the informational session.
Candidates must participate in an interview and then train for two weeks in a classroom environment, Wilson said. The process also gives potential employees the opportunity to show they are willing to work.
A list of candidates who successfully finish the process is made available to the local building trades so general contractors working the project at NIPSCO can pull from that list for workers.
Much of the work that goes on during a construction project at a generating plant is highly specialized, with only a few general contractors across the county capable of the work. The Michigan City project includes constructing and installing an emissions-control system known as a scrubber. The partnership between NIPSCO, Michigan City and Indiana Plan will help connect those out-of-state contractors with a qualified local work force.
NIPSCO participated in a similar program with the city of Gary for work on the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield. Wilson said the 45-mile distance between Gary and Wheatfield was a challenge for many local workers hoping to land jobs there.
Wilson said officials expect the partnership to be more successful in Michigan City where public transportation, including a South Shore rail stop near the plant, means workers from a wider area of Northwest Indiana could participate.
“If you really need a job and really want one you can actually get (to Michigan City),” Wilson said.
Sessions take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 100 E. Michigan Blvd., Michigan City.