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First graduates of Xcel Energy PowerUp Program prepared to take on energy and construction trade jobs

Last week, the first student cohort graduated from Xcel Energy PowerUp Program, a public and private partnership that trains workers to enter in-demand energy and construction trade jobs. Xcel Energy has invested $4 million in the program, with the goal to prepare 150 program participants to enter energy-related jobs or union apprenticeships by June 30, 2025.


The 61 PowerUp Program students graduated on Friday, May 3 at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park. Trained by Building Strong Communities (BSC), they are among 105 students who graduated from various BSC workforce training programs on Friday, BSC’s largest graduating class ever.


Xcel Energy and Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) are working with seven community-based organizations to train and provide job placement for Minnesotans who are underrepresented in energy and construction trades-related fields.


"DEED is honored to partner with Xcel Energy, Building Strong Communities and community-based organizations around Minnesota to make the Xcel Energy PowerUp Program a success," said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “Partnering with employers, industry associations and unions is a great way to ensure we are preparing people with the right skills for in-demand jobs.”  


“The PowerUp program is a reflection of Xcel Energy’s priorities and the communities we serve. As we lead the clean energy transition, we need a skilled workforce to build the new generation and transmission infrastructure that’s required to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to our customers,” said Patricia Correa, Xcel Energy senior vice president and chief human resources officer. 


“We thank DEED and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for helping to shape the PowerUp program,” added Correa. “We share the Commission’s goal to broaden participation in the energy transition, and believe a diverse workforce is a key element to deliver value in the way we conduct business, connect with our customers and build relationships in our communities.”


“This program changes lives,” said Building Strong Communities Executive Director Rick Martagon. “It provides people with the education and skills to make informed career choices that will benefit themselves and their families.”


Building Strong Communities serves as the provider of apprenticeship preparatory training for the Xcel Energy PowerUp Program and facilitates the direct placement of students into registered apprenticeships in construction trades.


Community-based organizations play a vital role in recruitment, workforce readiness and providing supportive services. This network includes Avivo, Career Solutions, Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc., EMERGE Community Development, Native Sun Community Power Development and Summit Academy OIC.


For more information on the Xcel Energy PowerUp Program, visit


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