Line Contractor

Letter From the Editor: Back to School

Published On
Sep 15, 2022

I grew up in Southern California, a region noted for not having seasons. So, I never missed school because of a snow day or experienced a rained-out baseball game. I have no regrets.

Hot or not, September means back to school. As if we needed reminding, writer Chuck Ross tells us that the outdoor line industry faces an enormous staffing challenge. In addition to finding the people, making sure they have access to training must be a priority.

In this issue, we have two features about training facilities purpose-built to instruct tomorrow’s lineworkers. The Missouri Valley JATC facility in Indianola, Iowa, opened in late 2020 and covers seven states in the Midwest. One of nine high-voltage apprenticeship programs nationwide, it is a four-year, 7,000-hour program to train lineworkers for the IBEW. Learn more about this in Susan Bloom’s article, “Training Tomorrow’s Talent,” on page 2.

In the Pacific Northwest, a long-term collaboration between the NECA chapter and four union locals has resulted in building a construction training facility for apprentices in Battle Ground, Wash. NW Line JATC also has a facility on the grounds of Camp Rilea, a military training complex on the Oregon coast. Chapter manager Tracy Harness says the new center will provide new options for pre-apprentices and current apprentices in the region. Read Chuck’s article, “Bridging the Gap,” on page 8.

Katie Kuehner-Hebert writes about leveraging social media outlets to market your firm’s expertise. She interviews a lineworker, the marketing director for a utility and two digital marketing strategists. “Social Media As a Tool” can teach us all a lot. It’s on page 14.

The final feature, “Grants to Green the Grid,” is on page 18. Gordon Feller informs us that foundations are seeing a rapid rise in philanthropy dollars focused on the electric grid. I learn something new every time I read this magazine. What do you want to learn about? Let me know: jmazur@necanet.org.

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