Manager's Message: Back to School? We Never Stop Learning
September may be the traditional back-to-school month, but we have education on our minds almost all the time. In fact, “Education and Information” is the fifth of seven Cooperative Principles we operate under.
For instance, we send you Country Lines magazine 10 times a year to keep you updated on your electric cooperative.
And in this issue, you’ll find notices for three programs which support education in our service area:
- Teachers or school districts can apply for Touchstone Energy classroom technology grants for up to $2,500 to purchase tools or software that will help them educate young minds. Since we started this program in 2011, we’ve given nearly $100,000 in support back to our area schools.
- High school sophomores and juniors can apply for the Youth Leadership Summit (April 22-24), which could lead to winning a week in Washington, D.C., in June.
- High school seniors, and adults furthering their education, can also apply for Touchstone Energy scholarships.
In upcoming issues of Country Lines, we’ll inform you of the board election process and about the annual member-owner meetings in which we come to each of the seven districts to visit with you and bring you co-op news. This kind of information is essential to the democratic governance of a cooperative like ours.
Speaking of board elections, we have two new directors to educate. Kimber Hansen was elected last year in District 4, and has already started attending the courses offered to electric co-op directors. Luke Pohl was appointed to the District 3 board seat in September, and will serve through next year’s election.
Board policy calls for directors to become certified during their first three-year term; both are already asking good questions at the board table and bringing their own experience to the wide variety of decisions board members are asked to make.
Employees are no exception to our education program. Everyone attends regular safety training on general subjects, and as their jobs require, on some very specific subjects.
Most of our managers and supervisors have earned certification through our national organization. This education serves two purposes - making sure they’re up-to-date on the latest laws, regulations, programs and technologies, while developing a nationwide network of co-op professionals that we can call on.
All of this emphasis on education benefits you as member-owners because it means the decisions made in running your electric co-op are not based on "best guesses" or a need for profit. Instead, HomeWorks runs on facts, experience, and your input.
Country Lines - January, 2015