Power Lineman Tech Program being Vetted

Major utility providers in Acadiana are joining forces with South Louisiana Community College for a proposed Power Lineman Technician Training Program.

The 4-month program would be part of SLCC’s Corporate College division, which provides short-term, non-academic training. The community college is partnering with CLECO and SLEMCO for the program.

“We know there’s a need for linemen now,” said Jermaine Ford, SLCC’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development. “We’re excited to partner with these companies as we develop curriculum and attain equipment.”

It is anticipated the program will be housed at SLCC’s Crowley Campus on Hutchinson Avenue. This campus is also home to the community college’s Commercial Driving program.  Power linemen technicians are required to obtain a Commercial Driving License for work.

“It’s vital that we have a pool of trained linemen who are local, as older linemen retire,” said SLEMCO Communications Manager Mary Laurent.  “Graduates of the program who are from here, are already an integral part of the communities we serve.  They know the roads, the people and our unique culture.  That will provide a near seamless transition to a younger workforce.”

The program would train students to build, repair, and maintain electrical systems for private and public utility companies. Students would get safety training and also hands-on training – including framing and building overhead lines, bucket truck operations, and extensive free climbing and hitch-hiking.

“It’s a win-win for CLECO to support SLCC’s line mechanic training program in Acadiana.  Not only does CLECO serve many customers across the Acadiana region, but we have offices in both Crowley and New Iberia where the school also has a presence,” said James Lass, CLECO general manager of distribution operations and emergency management.  “CLECO recognizes the need for skilled, trained line workers in Louisiana, and we look forward to helping develop, grow and retain our local talent.”

Students will earn a Level One NCCER Power Line Worker certification upon successful completion of the program.

“This partnership between SLCC, SLEMCO, and CLECO is a terrific example of how focused cooperation between industry and education can enhance both workforce and opportunity in a community,” said Laurie Suire, President and CEO of OneAcadia. “We are excited and proud of the opportunity to have this expanded course offering in Acadia. It will definitely be a win for our region.”

Power lineman are in demand during natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Approximately one-half of the nation’s electrical line workers are expected to retire within the next few years. In Louisiana, the need for linemen is projected to increase 16% rom 2012 to 2022. The average salary for an electric line technician in this state is nearly $25 per hour or just over $50,000 per year.

SLCC is expected to start its Power Lineman Technician Training Program in the Fall. Anyone interested in enrolling can contact SLCC’s Corporate College department at (337) 521-9028 or at workforce@solacc.edu .