Current and future electric utility line technician students at Metropolitan Community College now have a chance to work with additional real-world equipment even before they venture out into the real world, thanks to Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L). The company today donated an electric utility bucket truck to the utility lineman program at MCC-Business & Technology.
The donation is part of an effort to support the education and workforce preparation of future linemen, and to raise the profile and visibility of the lineman profession. Utility companies are earnestly looking to hire new workers because many current linemen will soon be eligible for retirement. Linemen earn an average annual salary of $63,000, with many making more than $100,000 with overtime pay.
Because hiring managers at companies like KCP&L are often looking for candidates who have experience with the specific equipment they will be using on the job, KCP&L leaders recognize the importance of contributing in meaningful ways to lineman training, said Duane Anstaett, vice president of delivery.
“We want to show our support for MCC’s lineman program as it is designed to train qualified individuals to enter into an apprenticeship program,” said Anstaett. “By donating this truck we want to assist students considering a career as a lineman to learn first-hand the critical nature of safe truck operations.”
MCC-Business & Technology’s electric utility line technician program began in 2006 as a collaborative effort with KCP&L, Aquila and Platte Clay Electric Cooperative. The partnership was established to address the forecasted worker shortage in the electric utility industry by developing training for lineman apprenticeship programs that would contribute to the retention, skill level, performance and worker safety of linemen.
Susan Blaser, who coordinates the line technician program for MCC-Business & Technology, said the training is intense and it is made stronger by access to equipment like the truck donated by KCP&L.
“Under very close supervision, my students are learning to climb poles, run wire, hang transformers, and operate heavy equipment,” said Blaser. “It is important that students build a strong foundation in safety, construction, and climbing skills here, rather than in the field with thousands of volts flowing overhead. This bucket truck donation will give students more operating time and make them better lineman apprentices when they graduate.”
In addition to today’s gift from KCP&L, the line technician program has received significant equipment donations from Platte Clay Electric Co-op, Independence Power & Light, Omaha Public Power District and Missouri Line Constructors, as well as past gifts from KCP&L.
Fast facts about MCC-Business & Technology’s electric utility line technician program:
- Established in 2006 in collaboration with KCP&L, Aquila and Platte Clay Electric Cooperative
- 112 lineman degrees and certificates have been earned in just the last five years
- 77% of graduates are placed in a lineman apprenticeship
- Class size is capped at 30 students/year, and the program is selective admission
- 12 program graduates have gone on to work for KCP&L
- Program alumni are currently working in 6 different states
Learn more about the program here: mcckc.edu/linetech.