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Camps help students explore careers in electric utility industry

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Edgecombe-Martin County EMC recently held four career exploration events for high school students.

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From Contributed Reports

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Edgecombe-Martin County EMC recently completed a series of four career exploration events for high school students across their service territory.

In partnership with area schools, the camps were hosted from April 8-11. Drawing nearly 100 participants from multiple high schools, students were given the opportunity to learn firsthand about potential careers in the electric utility industry.

The first of its kind in North Carolina, the program is what is hoped to be an annual event for all the local high schools.

"The response to the program has been tremendous,” said  Lisa Tolson, vice president of human resources for Edgecombe-Martin County EMC. “Our four events have had an average attendance of about 20 students. Each day the students have been very engaged throughout the day — their genuine enthusiasm is quite evident. We try to give them a well-rounded look at the work done by those who build and maintain our electric distribution lines, so they can better consider if they’re cut out for the life of a line technician. The job isn’t for everyone, but it’s clear that the students all enjoy learning about their co-op, the electric utility industry and the unique aspects of the line technician’s calling."

Tolson sees the important role for co-ops to play in their communities when it comes to workforce development.

"These are solid jobs, with competitive pay and benefits, and this fact isn’t necessarily being promoted or emphasized to our high school students,” she said. “If we can inspire just one kid to realize a dream, it’s all worth it."

Edgecombe-Martin built a training ground for the camp to be held behind the truck shed where students were able to rotate through sessions and get hands on training.

"We’re thankful to the many school systems that worked with us these last few months to encourage students to attend our camp — these are exactly the kinds of community partnerships that will benefit our young people and expand their potential career options,” Tolson said. “With an increase in line technician retirements across North Carolina and the nation over the next decade, it is an occupation that should be strongly considered. Especially if you enjoy being outdoors, this just may be the perfect job for you. Make no mistake, it is hard work; but it can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career path."

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