Dollar-Up campaign funds lineworker training
Since 1999 the Electrical Distribution Systems, or EDS, program at State Technical College of Missouri has filled a much-needed role in the utility sector: skilled lineworkers. Through a winning formula of industry-led curriculum and hands-on training, State Tech’s program averages a 98%-placement rate among graduates.
Electric co-ops have reaped the benefits of the program through access to skilled interns and, eventually, future employees. To help fuel this workforce development, co-ops are giving back to State Tech through the Dollar-Up campaign to help fund the purchase of equipment and materials.
Craig Moeller, director of risk management for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of the EDS Advisory Committee, says Dollar-Up is imperative for training the next generation of lineworkers and keeping the school on the cutting edge of education.
“Students might not get their hands on the newest and best bucket truck or skid-steer until they’re already in an internship or employed,” Craig says. “It makes a huge impact to have the same state-of-the-art equipment that’s being used in the field available to them in the classroom.”
Through Dollar-Up, utilities employing State Tech interns can donate the equivalent of an extra dollar per hour per intern back to the program.
In February, Boone Electric Cooperative, Columbia, was recognized as the first organization to fund Dollar-Up with a contribution of $1,668. Manager of Operations Jimmy Goodnight says interns assist with the busy summer construction season and receive experience with the co-op’s underground and overhead distribution systems.
“We’ve supported the program for several years because they’re the closest source of qualified line students,” Jimmy adds. “It’s in our best interest to make sure there are quality lineworkers out there.”
Through the state’s Enhancement Grant Program, funds can be matched on a 3-to-1 basis. A first-year class of 50 interns working 500 hours has the potential to create $100,000 of annual funding. Shannon Grus, vice president of advancement at State Tech, says donations from partners such as the co-ops go a long way toward keeping the EDS program up-to-date.
“We have the same goal: To give students the best technical education so they become a great employee,” Shannon says. “That’s what makes State Tech special; those industry professionals who are so invested in what we’re doing.”
For more information about State Tech’s program, visit www.statetechmo.edu/program/electrical-distribution-systems.