(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Interest in Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Electrical Lineworker Program continues to grow as graduates find rewarding jobs that pay well.

The first class, or cohort, of 18 students graduated on Oct. 31, 2022, from the new program, which is hosted on GNTC’s Polk County Campus in Rockmart. All graduates are now employed with companies, including DLC Utility Group LLC, Georgia Power, Marietta Power, Pike Corp. and U-TEC Construction.

“I was enrolled at GNTC to become an industrial electrician when I saw the opportunity to sign up for the Electrical Lineworker Program,” said Salvador Barragan, who graduated in the first cohort and is now an apprentice lineworker at Pike Corp. “I saw it as an opportunity to get off night shift,” adding that the difference in pay from his previous job was also “a significant motivator to make the switch.”

His salary is nearly twice what he earned before, and he has just started in the trade, Barragan said. In his current position, he evaluates the job at hand and anticipates the materials and tools the lineworker in the air will need to complete the job.

“The Electrical Lineworker Program is an opportunity to get into a trade that will provide you and your family a great quality of life,” he explained. “It is by far one of the best decisions I have made personally. It’s changed my life for the better in many ways, especially financially.”

He praised the program’s instructors for helping him to become adept at climbing poles and to learn how to use and trust his equipment for a job that is physically and mentally challenging.

“No day is ever the same,” he said. “Working on a good crew really makes the time at work fun and enjoyable.”

Classes for the second cohort began on Monday, Jan. 23. The program is offered through GNTC’s Office of Economic Development.

The program has sparked the interest of prospective participants. The program received 300 applications in its first seven months after its March 2022 launch, and another 70 people have applied since October, said Lisa Vines, administrative assistant for the Lineworker Program at GNTC.

Through the collaboration between Georgia Power and GNTC, students experience a vigorous training program that includes donated equipment such as trucks, poles and climbing equipment, as well as hands-on expertise from Georgia Power instructors. Upon completing the 10-week program, students receive four certificates of completion for Electrical Lineworker, a restricted Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Card and an overall certificate verifying 395 training hours completed.

Installing and maintaining electrical line equipment is a highly rewarding career field, but it can also be challenging. Robust 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.

Georgia Power is actively hiring qualified line personnel. Visit to learn more about becoming a lineworker with Georgia Power.

GNTC continuously accepts applications for future cohorts in the Electrical Lineworker Program. The next cohort will start July 10 and is currently open. For more information about the program, go to or contact the Office of Economic Development at [email protected].


Approximately 100 employees at area manufacturers have participated in the Apprenticeship program at GNTC since the program began in 2017, said John Gentry, Curriculum and Faculty Credentials coordinator at GNTC.

Current apprentices are enrolled in the Industrial Systems Technology degree, Industrial Systems Technology diploma and Automation Engineering Technology degree programs, Gentry said.

Gentry stressed that participation in the Apprenticeship program is open only to the existing employees chosen by participating employers. GNTC is not involved in selecting participants.

Gentry advises companies interested in becoming registered apprentice partners to contact him so that he can discuss the process for making them part of the program.

Currently, three apprentices work at HON, four at Mohawk Industries and five at Roper Corp., he said. Roper and Mohawk are expected to add more participants in the future.

“The apprentices are not doing a specialized curriculum specific to their employer,” he said. “They are enrolled in existing GNTC programs open to anyone.”

Because the manufacturers taking part in the Apprenticeship program select the employees they will send, they determine how many of their employees will participate, he said.

Employers can adjust the number of participants as they see fit. GNTC does not cap the number of participants.

Since Mohawk began participating, the company has sent 37 of its employees to the Apprenticeship program, said Caity Jacobs, Talent Acquisition program manager – Training at Mohawk.

“Our apprentices are enrolled in Industrial Systems Technology,” Jacobs said. “We also have a couple who are enrolled in both Industrial Systems Technology and Automation Engineering Technology.”

The apprentices completed their programs with both hands-on training and the theory behind the application of that training, she said. When selecting candidates for the Apprenticeship program, Mohawk looks at existing employees whose skills can grow by participating in the program, as well as candidates from outside Mohawk.

“We partner heavily with local high schools, career academies and community agencies to find these (external) candidates,” Jacobs said, adding that Mohawk plans to add two more apprentices this year.

Mohawk expects additional growth in the future, she said.

“The students get regular financial aid, and there are also federally funded grants specifically for apprenticeship students,” Gentry said. “Some graduate with an Associate Degree, some a Diploma, and some a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC).”

GNTC also has non-registered apprenticeships with companies such as Georgia Power for electrical maintenance technicians and Harbin Clinic for clinical office technicians.

The Apprenticeship program is a cooperative effort between GNTC, employers, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the State Office of Workforce Development and the U.S Department of Labor, Gentry said.

HOPE High School Examination Grant

The TCSG recently announced that eligible Georgians can now earn their high school equivalency diploma for free through a new grant. GNTC will use this grant to help eligible Georgia residents complete high school.

“Don’t let the lack of a High School Equivalency or GED® diploma keep you from reaching your college goals or obtaining a better job,” said Lisa Shaw, vice president of Adult Education at GNTC. “Make the first step, and we will be there to support you along the way.”

The HOPE High School Equivalency (HSE) Examination Grant provides qualified Georgia residents with an award of up to $200 to cover the cost of the HSE test, which means those who qualify can take the exams for free.

To date, GNTC GED® Testing Centers have graduated 433 students with a GED® diploma, Shaw said. Of those, 259 attended classes in GNTC’s Adult Education program.

Students select their schedule on weekdays, weeknights and weekends. They can take one or more subjects at a time and may test in-person or at home.

The HOPE HSE grant is available once per subject area exam. The grant is currently only available for the GED® test. Other scholarships are available for the HiSET exam to help cover the cost of that test; however, Georgians still predominantly take the GED® test.

Applications will be accepted until HOPE HSE Grant program funds are exhausted, officials said.

Visit to learn more about Adult Education at GNTC.

For more information about testing, go to and

Salvador Barragan practices pulling wire as a student in GNTC’s Electrical Lineworker Program.