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CONTACT:  (864) 646-1700, or visit tctc.edu/Learn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      11/4/2019

                                                                                     (By Lisa Garrett)

ANDERSON --- Students in Tri-County Technical College’s Level I Power Line Worker and Heavy Equipment certification classes recently participated in a rodeo where they showcased their skills for potential employers who are looking to fill these in-demand job across the State.

South Carolina employment data indicates the job market is wide open in both fields and employers are looking to fill new positions and openings created by a retiring workforce. 

These rodeos serve as a demonstration of the students’ power Line Worker and heavy equipment skills obtained during their classroom and skills training.

“Rodeos are like a job interview, where students can demonstrate their skills and network with future employers,” said Dr. Rick Cothran, dean of the Corporate and Community Education Division (CCE) at Tri-County. 

“The goal is to connect students with employers now,” he added. 

“Employers saw first hand that our students are marketable and what they have learned in their training,” added Julia Lee, training coordinator for CCE.     

Graduates of the Power Line Worker class, Matthew Alcorn, Wyatt Strang and Dillon McKinney, completed the 14-week course and demonstrated pole climbing, pole top rescue, naming material, demo digging and setting poles, hanging insulators, switching and underground work. 

The three graduates now are enrolled in the CCE Division’s five-week Commercial Drivers License A class to enhance their skills set by learning how to operate, drive and haul utility equipment making them even more employable, said Timia Hunter, division recruiter and outreach program coordinator for CCE.

The Power Line Worker program curriculum includes American Heart Association/CPR First Aid training and courses in National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) core; OSHA-10 for Construction; Power Line Worker Level I Certification and modules out of Levels II and III and the Power Line Curriculum with the option of adding Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). 

Power company employers attending the rodeo were Duke Energy, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Seneca Light and Water, Sumter Utilities, Pike Electric, Easley Combined Utilities and Utility Partners.

Heavy Equipment students, Peter Biscuti, of Walhalla, and Cheryl Shook of Westminster, demonstrated their skills the next day for employers at the Heavy Equipment Operators Rodeo.  Biscuti and Shook had the opportunity to showcase their skills using the skid steer, wheel loader and hydraulic excavators.  The students are excited to graduate from the eight-and-one-half-week program with the hands-on experience, knowledge and employer connections required to successfully transition into a Heavy Equipment Operator position.  The equipment that the students learned to operate was selected specifically by industry.

 “Our curriculum is designed to prepare potential employees to meet the specific needs of employers in our area,” said Dr. Cothran. “We offer the Power Line Worker Training in addition to the Heavy Equipment Operator training and the existing truck driver (CDL) training. Our new outdoor career pathways through our QuickJobs programs can quickly put people to work in jobs paying a sustainable wage in high demand careers,” said Dr. Cothran. 

 “Employers are happy and enthusiastic about both programs,” said Lee. “They praised instructor James Guthrie’s teaching skills and his emphasis on listening in the interest of safety for themselves and their partners, a good work ethic, and camaraderie and teamwork to get the job done,” she said.

If the student qualifies for a workforce scholarships, funded by the state, along with community partners such as SC Works and Vocational Rehabilitation, the tuition assistance can aid persons who are unable to afford the cost of training. Often there is very little out-of-pocket expense, said Hunter.

Earlier in the spring, College and community partner agencies announced details about a $200,000 grant from the South Carolina Technical College Foundation made possible by Duke Energy.  The purpose of the grant was to develop and implement this Power Line Worker Training program.

The grant covers start-up costs of the program, including equipment and faculty.

For more about the Power Line Worker or Heavy Equipment Operator program and how to apply for a scholarship, you can attend an Open House November 26 or December 10 from 9 – 10 a.m. or 4 – 6 p.m. at the Industrial & Business Development Center, call (864) 646-1700, or visit tctc.edu/Learn.