The journey to be a top level lineman - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

The journey to be a top level lineman

A class of 20 apprentices recently completed the first segment of the lineman apprenticeship program at Pearl River Community College. (Photo source: WDAM) A class of 20 apprentices recently completed the first segment of the lineman apprenticeship program at Pearl River Community College. (Photo source: WDAM)
Pearl River County, MS (WDAM) -

Twenty men working together with one goal in mind; to become a top level lineman. A class of 20 apprentices recently completed the first segment of the lineman apprenticeship program at Pearl River Community College.

The four-year program trains them for the job ahead.

During the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill in relation to the Mississippi Works Fund that provides training to meet the needs of growing companies in Mississippi.

Apprentices train to install, maintain and repair distribution lines, high power transmissions and systems that deliver power from the generating source to the end user.

Apprentice Alex Futch participated in the program and said the opportunity is worth it.

"They got guys that are coming straight out of school that don't know too much about the business," Alex Futch said.

PRCC, along with the Mississippi Development Authority, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District and three utility contractors, have partnered to establish and expand the lineman apprenticeship program.

This program will help create a pipeline of highly skilled talent for employers.

Grant funds provided by the State of Mississippi pay the instructors and purchase books and other training materials. Employers cover the wages of apprentices while in training during the four-year program.

Randy Henry, senior lineman instructor at PRCC, has been associated with lineman work since 2008.

"Working power lines is mostly hands-on, any way. You have to have some book knowledge and some theory of knowledge, but it's basically common, climbing poles, hanging transformers. When a storm hits, you got to go out there and get it," said Henry.

"The feeling of being on the roads that you've grew up in and traveling every day and you seeing people who are going through a hard time and just being able to help them, any little thing. The smile on their face when they cut the lights on is a good feeling," said Futch.

Copyright WDAM 2018. All rights reserved.

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