What’s Working: Lineman program offers promising career path

What's Working

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG)– In tonight’s What’s Working, training lineman to help during power outages.

We are in hurricane season, and we all know power outages are a possibility when storms come through. There is a program at Bishop State Community College to train future linemen. Bishop State partnered with Alabama Power to begin the program a few years ago.

Bishop State is busy training the latest class of lineman in this nine-week program. They spend some time in the classroom, but most of the curriculum is outside. The students start with learning to get their balance and get comfortable being up high on a power pole.

Students tell WKRG they are excited for the opportunity to start a new career.

“I have always been interested in electrical and lineman, and when the opportunity came available, and I took it,” student, Shawn Black said.

“I was in the military. It was like a brotherhood working for the military, and I heard the power company was like that, a brotherhood. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to get in the community and do things so I wanted to go that route,” student, Christopher Cortopassi said.

Beth Thomas with Alabama Power says jobs are not guaranteed when students complete the program, but the program has an excellent track record of placing students with a power company. Some students received multiple job offers.

“There is a need to keep people in the pipeline, to keep people who are trained to do this very important work for the customers who rely on us to keep the lights on,” Thomas said.

A new class of lineman starts in January, but the application process begins in August. Just to give you some perspective, over 200 people applied for this current class of 21. It’s a competitive interview process.

If you are interested in the program, here is a link to the application.

According to Bishop State, pay with most power companies starts at $19 an hour, but there are a lot of opportunities for employees to quickly receive a raise.

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