Electric cooperative lineworkers have a new pathway for a college degree in Kentucky. With support from Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and Kentuckians who purchase lineman-themed specialty license plates, the Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College System plans to incorporate lineworker training and education into a degree program.
At Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College, representatives from the statewide association of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives presented a check for $50,000 to college leaders. The funds represent donations tied to the Linemen “Power For Your Community” specialty license plates on thousands of vehicles in Kentucky. Proceeds will fund scholarships for eligible lineworkers.
“On behalf of SKYCTC and the entire Kentucky Community and Technical College System, we are so grateful for this level of partnership with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives,” said Dr. James B. McCaslin, Provost of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College. “The future of education is competency-based education. That’s what our employers need, and this helps ensure that Kentucky’s electric lineworkers receive the most world class and safest training.”
The degree program will recognize as college credit the training received in the Lineman Apprenticeship Program administered by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the association of all 26 electric co-ops in the commonwealth. Safety instructors lead the four-year formalized apprenticeship training and certification program utilizing the curriculum of Northwest Lineman College, an industry leader in lineman safety and education.
“Electric lineworkers rely on rigorously tested skills and knowledge to safeguard their lives and the safety of every electric consumer,” said Randy Meredith, safety and training director of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “This partnership recognizes the professionalism of this crucial career and invests in the talented people who commit their lives to the craft.”
The $50,000 donation will fund scholarships for eligible lineworkers who, after completing the apprenticeship program, can work toward an associate degree at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College.
“A gift like this is wonderful,” said Heather Rogers, Vice President of Resource Development & Executive Director of the SKYCTC Foundation. “We are very thrilled and thankful that Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has selected us to work with, and we are very excited to be able to apply this to our matching grant program through KCTCS and double the funds.”
“Apprentice lineworkers will continue to get high-level training, but now they’ll also be able to get an associate degree from SKYCTC, which really reinforces to those who are going into this industry that this isn’t just a job; it’s a career,” McCaslin said. “We want to provide opportunities for them to be able to grow in that career.”