PRCC, utility companies cooperate to train linemen
Pearl River Community College, the Mississippi Development Authority, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District and three utility contractors are partnering to establish and expand a Lineman Apprenticeship Program.
Chain Electric Co. of Hattiesburg, B & B Electrical of Brandon and MDR Construction of Columbia project significant growth and the need for more personnel in the next five years.
“The aging utility infrastructure coupled with numerous disasters has dramatically increased the demand for experienced utility lineman,” said Bob Chain, president and CEO of Chain Electric.
“Working in concert with other employers, Pearl River Community College and Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District gives us an opportunity to train Mississippians for high paying jobs. We are excited that our state has made this effort a priority.”
Fifty-seven students are enrolled in the program, which is taught at PRCC’s Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg.
During the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill establishing the MS Works Fund to provide training that meets the needs of growing companies in Mississippi. Grant funds pay the instructors, purchase books and other training materials. Employers cover the wages of apprentices while in training. The new apprentices will be hired as groundmen and progress to Linemen B at the end of the two-year program.
The creation of this program reinforces the state’s commitment to provide job seekers with hands-on training and helps to create a pipeline of highly skilled talent for employers.