Local experts say as more jobs come to York County, more students must be prepared to enter the work force.
The Duke Energy Foundation is offering a way to bring a more diverse work force to utility careers and educate those who want to enter that field. The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded a $40,000 grant to the York Technical College Foundation to create a new scholarship for students seeking a job as a utility line worker, according to a release from York Tech.
The Duke Energy Utility Line Worker Diversity Scholarship Program aims to “increase underrepresented populations in utility line worker professions,” the release states.
York Tech will award $5,000 scholarships to students selected for the program. Utility line worker salaries typically start at $21 an hour, said Meghan Miles, spokesperson for Duke Energy.
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“As Duke Energy works to modernize our grid over the next decade, we will need a diverse group of qualified line workers, like those that will benefit from the Duke Energy Utility Line Worker Diversity Scholarship, to help us build a smarter energy future for the region,” said Jennifer DeWitt, programs and community affairs director for the Duke Energy Foundation. “Investing in our community’s work force is an investment in our future.”
Investing in our community’s workforce is an investment in our future.
Jennifer DeWitt, Duke Energy Foundation
More trained labor is needed in York County as companies work to fill jobs. In April, education and business leaders came together to discuss work force development and the area’s needs.
“There’s not a lot of folks out there right now who are available and prepared for hire,” said Tom Drumwright, senior human resources manager for Meritor in York, a global supplier of automotive products in 19 countries. “There’s just not enough labor in York County to provide those of us who want to hire with the quality of person we’re going to need.”
Students who choose not to go to college have the potential to go straight to work, but must have the required skills. That’s where work force development comes in.
South Carolina is pushing for more students to be college and career ready, with an emphasis on gaining skills, said Ryan Brown, chief communications officer for the S.C. Department of Education. Technical education and apprenticeships are helping prepare students to go to work.
York Technical College’s eight-week utility line worker certificate program prepares candidates for entry-level positions in a utility line worker career field, according to the release.
“Graduates of the program are prepared for entry-level employment with utility and cable companies,” the release states.
York Tech’s program is offered at the college’s heavy equipment and line worker training site in Chester. The next program will begin Aug. 21.
York Tech Utility Line Worker Program scholarship
To be elgible, students must:
▪ Attend York Technical College and be accepted in the Utility Line Worker Program
▪ Be a legal resident of the United States and live in a county within Duke Energy’s service territory
▪ Be a member of an underrepresented population in utility line worker careers
The next program will begin Aug. 21. To apply for the scholarship, visit yorktech.edu/continuing-education for the application.