Duke Energy to provide South Carolina technical colleges with grants to train utility line workers

Published on November 26, 2018 by Dave Kovaleski

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Duke Energy is providing the technical college system in South Carolina with $1 million in grants to expand training opportunities for utility line workers across the state.

Utility line workers are in demand in the state as thousands of jobs will be open as Duke Energy and other utilities build smart, secure and flexible electric infrastructure now and in the years ahead.

“We are transforming the energy grid – making strategic, data-driven investments to improve reliability, use more solar and clean energy and provide customers with the intelligent information they need to make better energy choices and save money,” Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president, said. “These investments will reap benefits both immediately and, in the years to come, but we must increase the talent pipeline for line workers here in South Carolina today to build the smart-thinking power grid of tomorrow.”

The Carolinas Energy Workforce Consortium is projecting the need to hire at least 500 line workers every year for the next five years in South Carolina.

Duke’s S.C. Technical College Lineworker Grant Program will help fill this void. The grants will fund existing line worker programs or help create new programs at the state’s technical colleges. Grants will be awarded twice a year with a maximum grant for any program capped at $200,000.

“Collaborating with industry to meet essential workforce needs is a key tenet of the S.C. Technical College System. This partnership with Duke Energy provides the perfect example of how our system strives to align our degrees and curriculum with community and industry needs,” Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Technical College System, said. “We look forward to working closely with Duke Energy to address the shortage of much-needed trained line workers. Expansion of our offerings will help provide skilled workers who are so important to maintaining our state’s infrastructure.”

Utility line workers are trained to respond to major outages in events such as high winds, ice, and summer and winter storms. The average tenure of a line worker is between 20 to 30 years, but there are some who have been on the lines for more than 40 years.