- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s largest utility has started a training program for future workers that would enable them to be paid apprentices and get hands-on experience on various projects.

Students will work with Eversource to receive classroom instruction, online study and other experience.

Eversource says it also is committing to hiring New Hampshire workers first for contract work on major transmission and distribution projects, and to using non-union, New Hampshire-based companies for projects. The utility said the partnership helps address the critical need for qualified line workers as the utility industry sees a large portion of its workers retire.

Eversource said Tuesday it plans to invest more than $800 million in New Hampshire’s grid in the next five years, in addition to pursuing approvals for the $1.4 billion Northern Pass Transmission project that would carry 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to power-hungry southern New England markets.

“This one-of-a-kind partnership means that, for the first time in decades, we can put highly skilled electrical linemen and electricians to work in their home state,” said Joe Casey, New Hampshire Building and Trades Council President for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 490. He said the union typically recruits apprentices and sends them elsewhere to work.

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