A certification program that will create the linemen of tomorrow got a big lift from Alabama Power; or rather, a tall one.
“The bucket truck donation allows WCC lineworker students to train with the exact equipment they will encounter in the workforce after graduation,” said Wallace workforce development director Joe Johnson. “Donations and partnerships such as this are crucial to our program and students’ success. We couldn’t be happier for our students and our regional workforce partners.”
Since starting 11 years ago, the pre-apprentice lineworker program has served more than 500 students. As the only program of its kind in the area, there is a waiting list for the classes, which are held for seven weeks three times a year.
“Utility companies came to us because their rate of retirement in their workforce was growing, and they needed trained lineworkers to replace them,” said Wallace President Linda Young. “It was the beginning of a partnership that has grown over the years. We appreciate Alabama Power’s support of this program.”
“Alabama Power prides itself on being supportive of the communities we serve,” said Chad Skinner, who leads the power delivery organization in southeast Alabama that includes linemen, engineers and specialists in logistics and safety.
Alabama Power’s contributions don’t end with just a truck. Employees serve as evaluators in the lineworker fitness training, serve as mock interview panel members, assist the college with installation of new poles and provide field trip experiences for the students.
“This is the sort of support that is a win-win,” Skinner said. “The school is able to provide better training for these students, which in turn gives them a chance at better and more productive lives – and it gives us a wider pool of potential employees in the future. These are the sorts of skills you have to get hands-on. There is no simulator. There is no short cut.”