Cullman Electric Cooperative (CEC) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development. CEC provides power to more than 46,000 member accounts in Cullman, Winston, Morgan and Lawrence counties in Alabama.
CEC has started a workforce development program in the fall of 2022 to give high school students training in power lineman and fiber optics that is applicable to local jobs. The classes are held at Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA), and made possible due to the TVA COVID-19 Community Care Fund grant and CEC’s matching funds, which were used to purchase equipment.
According to CATA, “The program will be open to high school juniors and will include classroom instruction at CATA and hands-on field training through Cullman Electric Cooperative. Modules will include an introduction to electrical power and hazards, electrical safety, protective equipment and fiber optics.
“Students will also have an opportunity to earn multiple industry-recognized credentials such as OSHA 10 and Certified Fiber Optic Training (CFOT). This program will allow students to enter the workforce with the fundamental skills needed to further their education through work-based training or in a pre-apprenticeship program. Students will be prepared for a successful career as a power lineman in a field where the median salary is approximately $65,000 annually.”
Brian Lacy, manager of communications and external affairs at CEC says even before CATA finished developing the syllabus and curriculum, “They had a great response in terms of the number of students who were interested in signing up.“
Dr. Shane Barnette, superintendent of Cullman County Schools says. “We are so excited about this new opportunity for our students. We are constantly searching for exceptional educational experiences that lead to brighter futures. Cullman Electric Cooperative’s work to bring power to our community revolutionized our society, and the same thing is happening now with the expansion of fiber internet. This is a perfect opportunity for our students to prepare for a rewarding career in either path. We are thankful for Cullman Electric Cooperative and their continued partnership.”
“Our community is growing, which means our cooperative is growing as well,” said Tim Culpepper, CEO of CEC. “Building and maintaining our electrical infrastructure along with the fiber-optic cable and broadband equipment that power Sprout Fiber Internet requires skilled and well-trained men and women. We are excited to partner with Cullman County Schools and the Cullman Area Technology Academy on this program. It will prepare students for good-paying jobs that are in high demand both locally and across the country, and will help meet Cullman Electric’s workforce needs into the future.”
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