Friends, family and leaders of the City of Rockmart and Polk County gathered on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Polk County Campus in Rockmart to congratulate the third cohort of graduates of GNTC’s Electrical Lineworker program.
Fifteen students experienced a vigorous training program that included donated equipment such as trucks, poles and climbing equipment, as well as hands-on expertise from GNTC instructors. Upon completing the program, students received four certificates of completion for Electrical Lineworker, a restricted Class A Commercial Truck Driving (CDL) license, OSHA 10-Hour General Industry and an overall certificate verifying 395 training hours completed.
“With a focus on student success, GNTC’s mission is to offer quality technical education and workforce development opportunities to our citizens across our service area,” said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president.
The lineworkers started their training on July 10, “the hottest time in the State of Georgia to climb poles and drive trucks—when there is absolutely no shade or relief,” Popham said. “Thank you for your commitment and dedication.”
Popham said fulfilling this mission would not be possible without the support of state legislators, city and county officials, the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), TCSG, GNTC’s Board of Directors, GNTC’s Board of Trustees, and the college’s outstanding community partners.
Rockmart Mayor Sherman Ross thanked the graduates for filling a critical role in the workforce.
The demand for lineworkers is great, and employers will be chasing down the graduates to give them a job, said state Rep. Trey Kelley.
Kelley has a great appreciation for the profession; his uncle was a lineworker for his entire career.
“When storms would hit in Georgia or throughout the southeast, he would get that call in the middle of the night or different times of the day to load up and go to work,” Kelley explained. “When other people were battening down the hatches, he ran towards the storm like each and every one of you will do.”
The program is offered through GNTC’s Office of Economic Development.
Angela Berch, GNTC’s vice president of Economic Development, thanked program partners who recently made donations to support the program: Bashlin Industries Inc., Cobb Electric Membership Corp. (EMC), Georgia Power and Pike Enterprises LLC.
Graduates from the third cohort of the program are Dylan Blalock, Humberto Cerda Jr., Xavier Clark, Neal Cochran, Chandler Espy, Jeb Etheridge, Austin Finch, Giovani Garcia, Alec Ledbetter, Brenden Miller, Nick Mullis, Peyton O’Neal, Samuel Gomez Ramirez, Luiz Alberto Rosas Valdez and Ridge Walker.
Installing and maintaining electrical line equipment is a highly rewarding career field, but it can also be challenging. Lineworkers often face challenging conditions in the field, especially following severe weather. Robust training and education programs for lineworkers are critical to help prepare them to work safely in real world conditions as they help ensure reliable electrical service for millions of Georgians.
The next cohort of GNTC’s Electrical Lineworker program starts Jan. 8 and still has openings. For more information about the program, go to https://www.gntc.edu/lineworker or contact the Office of Economic Development via email at [email protected].