SVCC’s Power Line Worker Training Program celebrates its 500th graduate
“The graduates we honor today are shining examples of this program’s value and SVCC’s strong commitment to their success.” — John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative
By Laura Emery, Staff Writer
Southside Virginia Community College’s Power Line Worker Training School recently hit a major milestone by celebrating its 500th graduate. The ceremony was held at Pickett Park inside Fort Barfoot in Blackstone, Va.
During SVCC’s 11-week training program, trainees get classroom and hands-on training in safety, climbing techniques, electrical theory, aerial framing, rigging, operating utility service equipment, and commercial driver training. Those who complete the program also receive five credentials, including a commercial driver’s license.
It was in 2016 that the Power Line Worker Training School opened its doors to aspiring lineworkers in Virginia. The first of its kind in the commonwealth, the pre-training school was established through a public-private partnership between the members of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives; SVCC; the Virginia Community College System; the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education; and the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative.
Seven years later, it is a highly reputable launching pad for a new generation of lineworkers.
The success of the program is evident in the numbers. The program has graduated 21 classes, totaling 501 students from 56 counties and 13 cities in Virginia, as well as seven other states. Ninety-five percent of the students who graduated from this rigorous program now work for 71 different companies, with an astounding 90% of the graduates having received job offers before, or soon after, graduation.
“This program and its success would never have been possible without the support and strong partnership of the VMDAEC and their member electric cooperatives,” says SVCC President Dr. Quentin R. Johnson.
John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, gave the commencement address at the program’s 21st completion ceremony in late April. He offered encouraging words to the graduating class and acknowledged the program’s significant milestone.
To a packed room, Lee said, “The graduates we honor today are shining examples of this program’s value and SVCC’s strong commitment to their success. Knowledge, embedded in skill sets and coupled with initiative, teamwork and other social skills, yields individuals such as these graduates who will begin their careers with a very competitive start … this school is generating potential employees who can immediately begin contributing to the bottom line of his or her employer.”
For more, visit southside.edu/power-line-worker.