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New program trains electric line worker candidates

Bad winter weather can play havoc with electrical lines, causing power outages and creating a need for highly skilled electric line workers.

Some of those workers will get their initial training in a specialized electric line worker program begun recently at Ozarks Technical Community College.

OTC, in cooperation with a consortium of utility companies, co-operatives and labor groups, is providing an 11-week Pre-Apprentice Electric Line Program to help companies screen potential candidates for their own electric line work apprentice programs.

“Each utility and co-op conducts their own apprentice program. What we are doing is some pre-screening in math and pole climbing, plus giving students an overview of equipment, tools and blueprints,” said Cindy Stephens, chief operations officer of OTC’s Center for Workforce Development.

“This helps the companies avoid investing in someone who would not be a good fit for that position.”

A full class of 16 students is preparing for the pole-climbing assessment test that will take place Jan. 16. Candidates had to pass a math exam to advance to the pole assessment.

While completing the program does not guarantee anyone a job, it does give students a leg up over those who haven’t had the training.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students because they experience many facets of the industry and know if this is the proper choice for them,” Stephens said.

Debbie Krieder, manager of human resources for City Utilities, which has 40 line workers and troubleshooters, said electric line workers are hard to find.

“The OTC program allows CU to know if the applicants they selected for the apprentice program have the skills and capabilities to do the job,” she said.

To be placed on the waiting list for the program send an e-mail to or call 447-8901.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at






College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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