Central Piedmont graduates first class in new utility line worker program
Central Piedmont Community College graduated and celebrated the first class in its new utility line worker program at a Dec. 15 ceremony, held at the Harper Campus, in Charlotte. The graduates will help meet a growing need in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region for well-trained, highly skilled utility line workers.
The first class of utility line workers from Central Piedmont is comprised of five males and one female – Kendall Brathwaite, Fernando Cediel, Andrele Hilaire, Caleb Malin, Quaron Potts, and Brady Powell. Speakers during the graduation ceremony included Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont President; Stephen Gerhardt, senior program developer, and Powell, who offered student remarks.
Central Piedmont announced the creation of the program in late 2022 and began conducting classes and training in late-July 2023. Duke Energy provided a start-up boost by giving the college a grant of $500,000. The Pike Corporation also helped by providing much needed equipment to establish the program at the college’s Harper Campus.
The college is using the Duke Energy grant to provide instructional support and purchase equipment, materials and supplies needed to sustain the program. The Duke Energy Foundation recently announced it was providing the college a grant of $48,000 to further support the effort. As Central Piedmont continues to grow the program, its goal will be to produce more than 100 graduates every 12 months.
As part of the program, students undertake a rigorous curriculum and achieve a 580-hour academic and field training goal. Students who complete the 16-week program will be able to enter the workforce quickly and will have earned multiple, specialized industry training credentials, including OSHA, CPR, Arc Flash Safety for Utilities, Bucket Truck Rescue, Class A CDL License, Pole Top Rescue, and Work Zone Flagger.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates about 23,000 openings for line installers and repairers will be available each year, on average, over the next decade. With this trend in mind, the college, Duke Energy and Pike have partnered to develop a pipeline of diverse, skilled, and talented utility line workers by investing in the education and career development of local, Mecklenburg County citizens.
See the college website for more information about the utility line worker program at Central Piedmont, or call 704-330-4223.