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Creating a Legacy of Opportunity for Minnesota students

I-3 Program offers direct connection with energy jobs & training

By: | December 20, 2017 5:47 pm

In December, Xcel Energy hosted a group of Legacy I-3 students for a tour and demonstrations at the Hugo, Minnesota Training Center. Legacy I-3 teaches students and their families about the energy industry to get them excited about possible career paths. It provides character and skills training after school and on weekends and connects families with community-based agencies that provide support services.

I-3 students get hands-on experience with skilled professionals.

Tom Cascalenda, director, Operations Scheduling, and MJ Horner, senior director, Talent Strategy and Transformation, learned about Legacy I-3 through the Center for Energy Workforce Development and immediately saw how it aligned with Xcel Energy’s workforce goals.

“We realized we had to go a whole lot deeper to make a long-term impact,” Cascalenda said. “Lots of support agencies are doing great stuff, but everyone was operating in separate silos. Getting them to come together was a great challenge.”

Legacy I-3 started in Arizona as an effort to provide diverse high school students with support and training to prepare for careers in energy. Students pair with industry mentors who show them what it’s like to work in the energy industry through tours and presentations and also help them with other job-related skills. They then move on to technical skills training and education at community colleges or four-year degree programs (for example in a lineworker certificate program or engineering).

Jason Quackenbush, supervisor, Technical Training, hosted the Hugo Training Center event and Compliance Training Consultants Mario Gradillas and Richard Hyde gave equipment demonstrations and spoke to the students about Xcel Energy career opportunities.  Troubleman Zach Petit talked to students about being a lineman and demonstrated pole climbing.

Energy Ambassadors who also participated in the tour and demonstrations and talked to the students about Xcel Energy careers and training included Ty Pringles, trouble technician, Fred Brown, troubleman, Tom Cascalenda director and Sammi Swanson, consultant, Talent Acquisition. 

Many other Energy Ambassadors have spent time with Legacy I-3 students in their classrooms to talk about their experiences and careers at XE, and later this month Legacy I-3 students will start Energy Industry Fundamentals training.  Xcel Energy employed Legacy I-3 interns last summer as high school students while they were in the program through Right Track and Step Up and currently has three program graduates working for us as college interns.


We’re in the midst of an energy transformation and I love riding the wave of change and telling our story along the way.

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