The Ozarks Technical Community College Lebanon Center will debut a line worker training program in the fall of 2018. The two-year program will lead to an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Distribution Systems. Local electric companies, private donors and the college partnered to develop the curriculum and secure the equipment necessary to offer the degree.
“This is another example of how OTC aligns its degrees and curriculum with community and industry needs,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, OTC chancellor. “As line workers retire, there is a shortage of trained people to fill those positions. This new program will help provide skilled workers who are so important to maintaining our infrastructure.”
Currently, the State Technical College of Missouri is the only higher education institution in Missouri that offers a two-year associate degree in electrical distribution systems. Acknowledging the necessity for more training opportunities, Laclede Electric Cooperative donated electrical poles and their installation, and Lebanon resident Bill Williams made a significant donation.
“We cannot thank Mr. Williams and Laclede Electric enough for their enthusiasm for this degree,” said Dr. Dusty Childress, executive dean of OTC centers. “They recognized the need and stepped up to provide whatever was necessary to quickly make this program a reality.”
Before beginning the program, OTC surveyed dozens of electrical companies and co-ops in the state to gauge the need for a line worker program. The results of that survey informed the college’s decision to develop the program and begin this fall. Many of those same companies and co-ops have provided input and consultation in the program’s development.
Through the program, students will learn how to build, repair and operate the nation’s power grid. Instruction includes how to safely climb utility poles and install and maintain electrical distribution systems. Additionally, students will be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and obtain a commercial driver’s license.
Students interested in being a part of the inaugural 24-person class should visit otc.edu/eds or call 417-447-8146. A new cohort of students will begin every fall.