15-week program will help meet industry need for highly trained line technicians
Blake Bailey and Joshua Taylor get hands-on instruction from George Hayes, a retired OUC line tech, in Valencia's Electrical Powerline Technician program. The course is being taught at OUC's technical training facility.
ORLANDO – OUC—The Reliable One is partnering with Valencia College on a job-training program that aims to turn students into powerline technicians at a time when the electric utility industry is facing a growing need for line techs.
Valencia’s new Electrical Powerline Technician course combines 15 weeks of classroom and field instruction, with up to 15 students learning basic electrical theory, electrical distribution, circuitry safety protocols, pole setting and climbing, and other entry level skills. OUC helped Valencia, a public state college, create the program’s curriculum and is providing its technical training facility as the class site.
Launched in June as a pilot project, the current class of eight students is scheduled to graduate in October with the necessary certifications to be hired as line technicians 3rd class. Valencia’s next class begins in January 2020. The college plans to offer two classes per year.
“We see this training program as a valuable resource for OUC’s line technician recruiting efforts,” said Latisha Thompson, OUC Chief Employee Experience Officer. “Their skills are in high demand, and by partnering with Valencia on this program we can ensure students are trained to meet OUC’s high standards.”
Mark Hughes, Valencia’s construction program manager, said he sought OUC’s help with establishing the line tech school because “their partnership would lend instant credibility to the program.” He added that James Alexander, OUC’s senior electric technical trainer, was a “tremendous resource.” In addition to providing technical expertise, Alexander recommended instructors for the program. Three of the four trainers in the current class are former OUC line techs with more than 90 years of combined experience.
OUC Helps Create Electrical Powerline Technician Course
“With OUC’s help we are going to produce highly trained line techs who will find good-paying jobs,” Hughes said. “There is a lot of demand for line techs and I believe our program will help fill it.”
Tuition for the program is $7,000, plus $1,600 for tools, with loans and grants available to qualifying students. To enroll in the program, a prospective student must be at least 18, have a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a physical agility test and general assessment exam, and be able to obtain a Florida commercial driver’s license learner’s permit.
About OUC—the Reliable One
Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to about 400,000 accounts in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties. Visit www.ouc.com to learn more about our commitment to reliability, affordability and sustainability.