SCTC Develops Creative Solution to Recruit New Linemen

Posted: August 25, 2022

Cooperative efforts between local line companies and Mountain Empire Community College has provided employment opportunities for students in the Power Lineman Program. Pictured, from left, are: Dr. William Brownsberger - MECC Vice President, Academic Affairs and Workforce Solutions, Bryce Ward, Cody Gray - SCTC Operations Manager, Abbey Middleton, Mike Rose - MECC Lineman Instructor, and Jason Stapleton - PVEC Jonesville area manager.As the industry faces challenges to recruit and retain individuals for telecom careers, Scott County Telephone Cooperative has responded by partnering with local electric providers and Mountain Empire Community College to develop a 15-week lineman program.

Students in the program not only prepare for linemen careers, they also graduate with their commercial driver’s license — known as a CDL — eight necessary credentials and 16 hours of college credits. Since its start in 2017, more than 250 people have completed the course.

“You can’t beat this program. If you’re a worker, then I can guarantee you a job right now,” lineman instructor Mike Rose says in a recent Powell Valley News article about the program.

SCTC has hired 10 linemen from the program, including Abbey Middleton, who recently mentioned her excitement for her new job on Twitter. Her post was noticed by Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. Bloomfield retweeted her excitement for SCTC hiring its first female lineworker.

TNBA Executive Director Carrie Huckeby notes the importance of recruiting women and all young professionals to telecom careers.

“We have so many fascinating career opportunities in our industry, but it’s a challenge to reach women and young people,” Huckeby says. “We have technical and operational jobs that are challenging and fulfilling. I’m thrilled to see SCTC has hired their first female lineman. I hope she loves what she’s doing and will help the association spread the word about telecommunication careers.”