16-week program to launch in spring 2023, produce a pipeline of skilled line workers
Duke Energy has given Central Piedmont Community College a grant of $500,000 to create a utility line worker training program at the college's Harper Campus. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates about 23,000 openings for line installers and repairers will be available each year, on average, over the next decade. With this trend in mind, the partnership seeks to develop a pipeline of diverse, skilled, and talented utility line workers by investing in the education and career development of local citizens.
"Our most valuable asset is our people, and line workers are the foundation of our company especially as we modernize our grid and integrate new technologies," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy's executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services. "Recruiting through the Central Piedmont line worker program and other similar high-caliber community college programs will help ensure we develop a skilled workforce that meets our candidates' expectations."
Central Piedmont will use the grant to provide instructional support and purchase some of the equipment, materials, and supplies needed to launch and sustain the new 16-week training program. The new program will open in spring 2023, with the first of three planned cohorts of 12 students. Once the program is up and running at capacity, overlapping and staggering the program's start dates throughout the academic year will enable the college to produce as many as 144 graduates every 12 months.
"This partnership program will give our diverse student body the opportunity to learn about and engage with a career pathway they may not have considered previously," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "This is a high-demand, specialized field with enormous growth potential. With utility line workers earning an estimated starting annual salary of $74,000, this is a career that can transform the lives of students and their families."
As part of the program, participants will complete a rigorous curriculum and achieve a 580-hour academic and field training goal. Students who complete the 16-week program will be able to enter the workforce quickly and will have earned multiple, specialized industry training credentials, including OSHA, CPR, Arc Flash Safety for Utilities, Bucket Truck Rescue, Class A CDL License, Pole Top Rescue, Trenching/Shoring/Confined Space Training, and Work Zone Flagger.
Duke Energy and Central Piedmont leaders announced plans for the program during a Nov. 29 event, at a Duke Energy operations center, in Charlotte.
"Without Duke Energy's financial support, as well as their technical expertise, the college would not be able to launch this program. This is a true partnership, and I commend and thank Duke Energy for coming alongside the college to make this much needed program a reality," Deitemeyer remarked. "We are eager to open the program, and we thank Duke Energy for their support and collaboration."
For more information about Central Piedmont's new utility line worker training program, contact Stephen Gerhardt, senior program developer, at 704.330.4451 or Stephen.Gerhardt@cpcc.edu.