Orlando, FL – Valencia College is partnering with Orlando Utilities Commission on a new program to train electrical powerline technicians, as utilities in Florida and around the country are facing a growing shortage of utility workers.
To meet that demand, Valencia College and OUC officials have created a training program, in which students learn basic electrical theory and troubleshooting skills, as well as how to use industry tools and equipment and how to climb power poles.
“We are excited to partner with OUC on this program because we know that, together, we can give students not only an excellent education on the basics of electricity and utility line work – but also the chance to land a high-wage job that will lead to a rewarding career,” said Carolyn McMorran, assistant vice president of Valencia College’s professional and continuing education division.
Launched in June as a pilot project, the 15-week training program is being held at OUC’s training facility in southeast Orlando. Three of the four instructors are retired OUC line technicians.
“We see this training program as a valuable resource for OUC’s line technician recruiting efforts,” said Latisha Thompson, OUC’s chief employee experience officer. “Their skills are in high demand and by partnering with Valencia College on this program, we can ensure students are trained to meet OUC’s high standards.”
Starting wages for powerline technicians average between $21 to $27 per hour.
To develop the program, Valencia College combined OUC’s existing curriculum with the power line worker curriculum produced by the National Center for Construction Education & Research. In addition, students will receive financial literacy training, as well as help with interview skills and resume preparation.
Tuition for the program is $7,000, plus $1,600 for tools. Students may qualify for loans or grants to subsidize the cost.
To qualify for the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, pass a physical agility test, an aptitude test and be eligible to obtain a Florida commercial driver’s license learner’s permit.