Duke Energy Partners with S.C. Technical College System to Expand Lineworker Training with $1M Grant
Monday, November 26th, 2018
Duke Energy is partnering with the S.C. Technical College System to invest $1 million in grants to expand training opportunities for much-needed utility lineworkers across the state.
The company will need this highly-skilled workforce as it builds a smart, secure and flexible electric infrastructure to better serve customers and keep South Carolina competitive now and in the years ahead.
As Duke Energy and other utilities build the smart-thinking grid of the future – and the industry adapts to an aging workforce that will retire in the coming years – thousands of jobs will be created and filled.The backbone of the workforce is the certified utility lineworker.
"We are transforming the energy grid – making strategic, data-driven investments to improve reliability, use more solar and clean energy and provide customers with the intelligent information they need to make better energy choices and save money," said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy's South Carolina state president. "These investments will reap benefits both immediately and in the years to come, but we must increase the talent pipeline for lineworkers here in South Carolina today to build the smart-thinking power grid of tomorrow."
The Carolinas Energy Workforce Consortium – a partnership of utilities in the Carolinas led by Duke Energy that helps ensure the two states have a sustainable, qualified workforce – is projecting the need for at least 500 lineworker hires every year for the next five years in South Carolina.
The S.C. Technical College Lineworker Grant Program was created to help fill this need and will focus on filling the ranks for existing and new industry demand of certified lineworkers. The grants will fund existing lineworker programs or help create new programs at the state's technical colleges. A committee will award grants twice a year with a maximum grant for any program capped at $200,000.
"Collaborating with industry to meet essential workforce needs is a key tenet of the S.C. Technical College System. This partnership with Duke Energy provides the perfect example of how our system strives to align our degrees and curriculum with community and industry needs," said Dr. Tim Hardee, S.C. Technical College System president. "We look forward to working closely with Duke Energy to address the shortage of much-needed trained lineworkers. Expansion of our offerings will help provide skilled workers who are so important to maintaining our state's infrastructure."
The utility lineworker
Lineworkers are true heroes in our communities. They daily perform challenging, highly skilled work to provide the energy that drives South Carolina.
The job of a lineworker is critical to the safe and efficient delivery of power for Duke Energy's customers. All lineworkers are trained to respond to major outages in events such as high winds, ice and summer and winter storms.
Lineworkers receive an extensive progression of training over several years. In most cases at each interval, both written and field tests must be successfully completed to demonstrate expertise and job knowledge.
Lineworkers consider it a privilege to serve their communities and they love what they do. The average tenure of a lineworker is between 20 to 30 years, but there are some who've been on the lines for more than 40 years working safe and providing excellent customer service.