(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):
Leaders from Georgia Power joined with officials from Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) and state and local representatives Monday, Oct. 31, at GNTC’s Polk County Campus in Rockmart to congratulate the first graduates of GNTC’s new Electrical Lineworker Program.
Through the collaboration between Georgia Power and GNTC, 18 students experienced a vigorous training program that included donated equipment such as trucks, poles and climbing equipment, as well as hands-on expertise from Georgia Power instructors. Upon completing the program, students received four certificates of completion for Electrical Lineworker, Commercial Truck Driving, OSHA 10-Hour General Industry and an overall certificate verifying 395 training hours completed.
“Georgia Power has proven time and time again to be one of GNTC’s most committed, unprecedented partners as it relates to establishing strategic training programs like the Electrical Lineworker Program,” said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president.
“Implementing training programs of this nature cannot be done by the technical college alone; it requires significant investment from private stakeholders such as Georgia Power,” she said. “From providing instructor expertise, equipment, tools and an incredible pole field, Georgia Power has gone over and beyond in helping GNTC to establish and sustain the Electrical Lineworker Program for many years to come.”
The program is offered through GNTC’s Office of Economic Development.
“We are seeing tremendous interest in our Electrical Lineworker Program,” said Stephanie Scearce, GNTC’s vice president of Economic Development. “Since launching in March, we have already received 300 applicants.”
“While we learned a lot about how to improve the program moving forward, I am incredibly proud of the outcome of our inaugural cohort, thanks to our dedicated instructors and staff,” Scearce said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a better group of students. They showed up every day of training and put everything on the line to better themselves. Let’s just say the bar is set high for future cohorts.”
Graduates from the first cohort of the new program are Josh Adams, Salvador Barragan, Joshua Daum, Logan Davenport, William Bryce Epperson, Brent Gentry, Chandler Caleb Hall, Jonathan Hood, Glenn Jose, Cosmas Kipruto, Jaylen Larkin, Rylan McAlister, Cesar Molina, Christopher (Ross) Moore, Melvin Pledger III, Malik Reese, Isaac Ritter and Ethan Tucker.
Installing and maintaining electrical line equipment is a highly rewarding career field, but it can also be challenging. Lineworkers often face challenging conditions in the field, especially following severe weather. Robost training and education programs for lineworkers are critical to help prepare them to work safely in real world conditions as they help ensure reliable electrical service for millions of Georgians.
State Senator Jason Anavitarte acknowledged the current shortage of lineworkers and praised the Electrical Lineworker Program, explaining “I wish we had 20 of these programs across the state, and I hope Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Southern Company will continue to invest in these programs in our technical college system throughout the state.”
State Representative Trey Kelley said his uncle retired from Georgia Power as a lineman. He can recall the quality of life his uncle provided for his family because of that job.
“I would like to congratulate the graduates on taking the next step in having a successful career as a lineworker and providing the same quality of life for their own families,” he said.
“I cannot think of a more selfless job that we have at Georgia Power and across Southern Company than being a lineworker,” said Fran Forehand, senior vice president of Power Delivery at Georgia Power. “Lineworkers get up in the middle of the night or early morning to restore power after a storm and are always on call.”
Lineworkers do more than “just keep the lights on,” Forehand said. They also serve as community leaders and are the “face” of the company whenever they are out in the community.
After graduation, representatives from DLC Utility Group LLC, Georgia Power, Marietta Power, North Georgia Electric Membership Corp., Pike Corp. and U-TEC Construction interviewed the graduates.
Georgia Power is actively hiring qualified line personnel. Visit www.PoweringCareers.com [poweringcareers.com] to learn more about becoming a lineworker with Georgia Power.
The next cohort of GNTC’s Electrical Lineworker Program starts in January and is already full. However, GNTC continuously accepts applications for future cohorts. After January, the following cohort of the Electrical Lineworker Program will occur in Summer 2023 and is currently open. For more information about the program, go to https://www.gntc.edu/lineworker [gntc.edu] or contact the Office of Economic Development at email@example.com.