We’re kicking off National Lineman Appreciation Day with some not-so-shocking news about OTC’s Electrical Distribution Systems Program – all 22 line worker students have summer internships in the works. These linemen-in-training will spend their summer months making up to $26.50 an hour as they put their skills to the test with area electric partners.
OTC instructor Mitch Hurt says summer internships are built into the program’s curriculum to aid his students’ training and development.
“Now’s the time to take what they’ve learned and apply it on the job,” Mitch explained. “This summer, they will be required to log at least 180 hours, but they can do more if their employer requests it. Some will be able to come home every night, while others will be gone three to four days at a time.”
Before Mitch became a line worker instructor at OTC, he worked in the field for over a decade. Mitch said his students display high levels of professionalism and skill – he often feels like he’s on the job with them.
“In addition to mastering the technical aspects of the program, we talk at length about essential soft skills like employability, work ethic, and attitude,” he said. “I have to say these gentlemen have responded extremely well – I couldn’t be more proud. I think they will do a fine job representing themselves and the program this summer.”
OTC’s line worker program began in August of 2018. Taught exclusively at the OTC Lebanon Center, the two-year degree program is one of only a few offered in the state. Mitch’s students are currently learning how to locate line trouble, use hot line tools and work on substations. The program’s first cohort will be eligible to graduate next spring.
“We’re about to see a great deal of line workers retire, and that’s going to leave a significant gap in the workforce,” he said. “Over the next year, it’s my job to help these students become as skilled as possible before they graduate and become apprentices in the field.”