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NLTCC’s Powerline Worker Program shapes heroes in Northwest Louisiana

by Minden Press-Herald

By: Kelsey Meshell- NLTCC

Since the inception of the Powerline Worker Program in the fall of 2023, Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College (NLTCC) and American Electric Power – Southwestern Electric Power Company (AEP-SWEPCO) have been at the forefront of shaping the future of line workers in the region. The partnership has not only equipped students with valuable training, but has also highlighted the vital role of line workers in our local community. 

Led by James Barlow, an instructor and AEP-SWEPCO alumni, the Powerline Worker Program at NLTCC equips students with technical skills while fostering a strong sense of responsibility and community service. Through hands-on training and immersive learning experiences, students develop the confidence and competence required to excel in the demanding profession of linework.

As time has progressed into the spring semester, the inaugural class has made significant strides in their journey. Actively participating in the establishment of the pole yard on NLTCC’s Shreveport campus alongside AEP-SWEPCO, they are benefiting from a tailored training program that addresses the evolving needs of the industry. This hands-on program provides students with opportunities to operate bucket and line trucks, set and pull poles, wire transformer banks, climb electrical poles in various weather conditions, utilize AEP-SWEPCO’s indoor training facility, and much more. Students also receive their CDL license.

Line workers play a vital role in maintaining a reliable power supply for homes and businesses, contributing significantly to the well-being of their communities. Their hands-on work not only offers job security but also brings a sense of fulfillment as they actively contribute to keeping the community powered. With a growing demand for line workers in the state, there are ample job opportunities for those entering the field.

“Our program is all about putting the skills and the certifications within reach of Ark-La-Tex students to enhance their overall employability and ensure they are job ready,” said Dr. Jayda Spillers, NLTCC Chancellor. “We believe we have the opportunity to deliver a program that meets the needs of our local residents and employers like AEP-SWEPCO.”

For those interested in joining the program, the next class begins on March 18th, 2024. Entrance requirements include an age requirement of 18 years old, a current driver’s license, a satisfactory DOT physical, a high school diploma or equivalent, and no fear of working at high elevations. Additionally, applicants must pass a DOT drug screen immediately before beginning the course. 

As the only source of powerline worker training in Northwest Louisiana, NLTCC encourages interested applicants to visit nltcc.edu for more information. The program promises to address the region’s workforce needs and offers an exciting opportunity for individuals seeking a rewarding career in this essential field.

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