DEMEC opens Smyrna training yard
SMYRNA — The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) cut the ribbon on its first in-state training yard earlier this month, with aims to bring apprentice and journeyman lineworkers from eight municipalities together for upskilling.
The training yard is designed to support workforce development, with a series of utility poles, transformers and substation infrastructure installed on site to host classes for its membership. Phases will also include climbing, bucket trucks and meter training.
The 5-acre facility is at the Smyrna Business Park off Wheatleys Pond Road. DEMEC bought the land next to ShureLine Electrical in April 2021.
“As a joint action agency and not-for-profit, DEMEC is always looking for economies of scale opportunities to bring our members additional savings,” DEMEC President and CEO Kimberly Schlichting said in a statement. “Safety and education are part of our organization’s core values and lineworkers are the backbone of public power. We are pleased to support our members’ workforce, resilience, and reliability through a diverse training yard.”
Lineworkers are typically sent to out-of-state programs that may last up to two weeks for training that is required for the field. Before this project Delaware had no facility of its own to send lineworkers, and DEMEC used three utility poles behind its Smyrna headquarters for small training sessions.
Outdoor hands-on training may range between 10 to 20 students, but apprentice training classes are expected to be small for a stronger instructor-to-student ratio.
The facility will offer new and seasoned lineworkers training for 66% savings to its eight municipal members.
“It provides our electric crews with local training that keeps lineworkers close to home and significant cost savings to the community,” DEMEC Board Chair and Middletown town manager Morris Deputy said in a statement. “This training yard is the perfect example of the types of value-added shared services DEMEC provides as an integral partner of our community electric utilities.”
Established in 1978, DEMEC is a joint action agency that represents eight power-producing Delaware towns and cities that serve 99,200 people. Members include Clayton, Dover, Lewes, Middletown, Newark, New Castle, Seaford and Smyrna.