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New program for skilled electric utility line workers in Virginia

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Staff writer ▼ | January 5, 2016
In early 2016, Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will begin offering a new Power Line Worker Training Program designed to address the projected critical shortage of skilled electric utility line workers in Virginia.
Electric worker
Education   A projected critical shortage
This program, which will involve 11 weeks of intensive classroom and hands-on training, will prepare its graduates for employment as apprentice line workers at electric utilities. SVCC’s new program was one of five successful entries in the first Governor’s Competition for Talent Solutions, announced in the fall of 2015.

The Power Line Worker Training Program will benefit from a $200,000 matching incentive grant from the Commonwealth intended to provide new workforce training options and develop Virginia’s economy.

The electric cooperatives in the Commonwealth partnered to create a shared training program and collectively supported that program. They provided donations of materials and equipment, financial support and technical advice on how to design the program and set up the training yard.

Virginia’s 13 consumer-owned electric cooperatives partnered with the Governor’s Office and community colleges on the pre-apprentice training to replace the wave of retirements expected in the industry over the next few years.

Southside Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Crewe, Virginia, developed a prototype “Day in the Life of a Lineman” program with local schools. The program served as a springboard to spark interest among young people in careers as line workers.