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Updated December 15, 2009, 10:01 pm

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Marshall Training Center


Developing Skills for the 21st Century

Line worker climbing poleProviding safety and operational training for utility workers has been a tradition in Marshall, Mich., for more than three decades.

So when a wrecking ball demolished the old Marshall Training Center in November 2007, an exciting new 21st century facility rose quickly from the rubble. News Release.

Inside the new center
A greener future
Safety front and center
Marshall quick facts
Marshall Training Center brochure (PDF) 

A Commitment Reborn

The $5 million Marshall investment symbolizes Consumers Energy’s  Growing Forward   strategy. It continues the company’s commitment to excellence in training while preparing utility employees for new technologies such as renewable energy.

High-tech distance-learning capabilities extend the reach of Marshall’s industry-leading training team, while the center’s buildings incorporate the latest advances in environmentally “green” construction.

With all its features, the new Marshall Training Center promises to be a training hub in south-central Michigan for decades to come.

Inside the New Center 

Training area indoorThe new center includes an indoor training area and a main building with six large classrooms, three labs, a separate renewable energy center plus several outdoor training facilities.

Inside the expansive indoor training center, apprentice lineworkers gain hands-on experience in safely performing high-wire electric distribution tasks they’ll face in the real world. Just a few yards away, other trainees gather 10 feet underground in a substation vault learning how to splice cables and fix transformers.

Inside the classrooms, equipped with large-screen TV monitors and computers, employees receive instructions from a training expert while co-workers across the state “sit in” via the Internet. Marshall’s distance-learning capability eliminates hundreds of miles of driving time, reducing training costs and contributing to a cleaner environment.

Meanwhile, other groups of trainees are busy outside learning about two wind turbines and a fixed-panel solar array. These green technologies help heat and light Marshall’s renewable energy training building and the outdoor training facilities.

Employees also are trained in connecting privately owned wind and solar power systems with Consumers Energy’s electric system, anticipating the increased use of residential wind and solar generators in the future.

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A Greener Future 

Training renewable energy buildingIn its design, the new training center incorporates Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Developed by the United States Green Building Council, LEED standards are a nationally recognized benchmark for high-performance green buildings.

LEED-designed buildings use materials, energy and other key resources more efficiently, resulting in a reduced environmental impact while enhancing employee health and comfort, and encouraging greater productivity.

At Marshall, this is reflected in the abundance of natural light from carefully positioned skylights, sensors that trigger lights on and off when people use classrooms, and advanced insulation design.

Thanks to its green features, the new Marshall Training Center uses two-thirds less energy than the old building.

Safety Front and Center 

Safety awareness is embedded in every activity at the new Marshall Training Center.

As trainees scale utility poles, work beneath ground in confined spaces, maintain wind turbines and other new renewable energy sources, they’re under the experienced eye of Marshall’s trainers, who ensure that all of the safety bases are covered.

What’s learned at Marshall carries directly into the real world. The new training facility plays a central role in supporting Consumers Energy’s positive safety culture.

Marshall Quick Facts 

  • The Marshall facility was established in 1978 as a natural gas service center
  • In 1979, Marshall began to develop into a training center for electrical and
    substation training
  • The expansion of the Marshall Training Center cost $5 million and it took 150 construction workers to complete it
  • The new Marshall Training Center occupies 41.5 acres
  • Each year, about 2,000 employees will receive training at the new center, double the number for the old building
  • About 75 percent of the Marshall Training Center students stay in Marshall-area motels and eat at local restaurants
  • The Indoor Training Arena contains 23 training poles, each 45 feet high
  • The expansion features renewable energy components, including two small-scale wind turbines and a fixed-panel solar array

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