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NCC expands electric line academy

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Nash Community College is working to expand its electric line academy as the demand for workers in the industry continues to grow and NCC offers the only Electric Line Construction Technology degree program in North Carolina.

Wendy Marlowe, vice president of corporate and economic development and chief economic development officer for NCC, outlined expansion plans for the program at a recent meeting of the NCC Board of Trustees.

“Our fall line academy is already full, and we have a waiting list of 20 people who are going to take up half our spots in the spring,” Marlowe said. “So we have decided that we need to do even more education concerning electric line construction for the state of North Carolina.”

That extra effort means the addition of an evening electric line academy slated to begin in January.

“Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Duke Energy, we are going to be offering an evening electric line program for those folks that can’t do it during the day,” Marlowe said. “With those funds, we are going to be investing in lighting and safety equipment. We hope to begin offering that in the spring of 2020. It will also be a condensed version, in some ways, of the full-time day classes. But it will help meet the needs of the industry, and we are excited about being the leading partner in this endeavor.”

NCC was awarded a Duke Energy Workforce Development Grant for $100,000 in June. The grant is designed to enhance the college’s Electric Line Construction Technology program offerings. Equipment funded by the grant will ensure NCC’s Electric Line Construction Technology program continues to provide high-quality training opportunities, resulting in highly qualified program graduates, according to an earlier press release from the college.

“We are proud to support Nash Community College by helping expand its Electric Line Construction Technology program offerings,” Tanya Evans, Duke Energy district manager, said in that release. “Our goal is to create a diverse pipeline of skilled workers who can support North Carolina’s energy industry going forward, and NCC has been a wonderful and long-standing partner with us in that effort.”

The community college already has expanded its program by offering summer classes as well as programs in the fall and spring.

“This year, we offered a summer underground electric line academy,” Marlowe told board members. “It is a smaller, more condensed version of our regular electric line academy. We have just finished up that course, but just during that five-week program, we have had six recruiters come to look at those students and they all have job offers. These recruiters are offering jobs starting at $21.50 for our graduates. We are the gold standard for this program in North Carolina and we continue to enjoy that distinction.”

Roughly 120 students new to the program earn certifications each year at NCC, Marlowe said. In addition, roughly 4,000 students work on earning continuing education credits for the industry at NCC.

NCC’s Electric Line Construction curriculum prepares students for line construction in rural and utility settings through laboratory and practical applications. NCC students master competencies including elements of electricity, overhead pole and electrical line construction, safety codes and applications, electric power systems, transformer installations and more. An emphasis on safety is embedded in NCC’s program as students earn OSHA, CDL and CPR certifications during training, according to a press release from the college.

“NCC’s program would not be what it is today without the foresight President (Bill) Carver had more than 20 years ago, along with the integral role our utility partners play as we work together to create a program with a reputation of graduating skilled, safety minded, career-ready line technicians,” Marlowe said in that release.