Home Lifestyle RichmondCC Electric Lineman Program positioning many for lifelong careers

RichmondCC Electric Lineman Program positioning many for lifelong careers

Richmond Community College Electric Lineman graduate Taurence McDougald accepted a job from Utility Line Construction Services. Photos by RCC

HAMLET — Richmond Community College recently graduated 21 young men from its Electric Lineman program, setting them up for lifelong, high-paying careers working in the utility industry.

The 14-week program includes classroom lecture, but the students spend much of the time with hands-on exercises in the lineman yard enduring all the weather elements that will come with the job. The day before they graduate from the class, the students take part in an exhibition that showcases the skills they have learned for family, friends and potential employers. Companies are invited to come to the demonstration and talk to students about job opportunities.

Mason Thomas of Pinehurst was among the students who graduated with the spring class on April 6.

“The lineman program was physically demanding, but the career requires that,” Thomas said. “But it is also fun. Fourteen weeks ago, I didn’t know any of these boys, but now I have 20 more brothers.”

Thomas accepted a job from Lee Electric after the lineman exhibition and said he is excited about the traveling opportunities that will come with the job.

Richmond Community College Electric Lineman graduate Mason Thomas accepted a job from Lee Electric.

“They could send me all the way down to Alabama or as far north as Maine. Wherever there are storm workers and emergency restoration needs, that’s where they’re going to send you,” Thomas said.

Thomas had other job offerings, but for him Lee Electric is local and he knows many people who work with the company.

Kevin Diggs of Chesterfield, South Carolina, and Taurence McDougald of Rockingham both accepted job offerings from Utility Line Construction Services (ULCS) and will be based out of the Charlotte area.

Diggs heard about the Electric Lineman program from several other people in Chesterfield who went through the program at RichmondCC. He enjoyed the hands-on training, learning a new profession and making new friends.

Richmond Community College Electric Lineman graduate Kevin Diggs accepted a job from Utility Line Construction Services.

“I’m not afraid of heights, but climbing the 40-foot pole for the first time was rough,” Diggs said. “But it wasn’t that bad. It was fun.”


McDougald was formerly enrolled in RichmondCC’s Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program, but with the encouragement of friends and family, he made the switch to the lineman program because it was a better fit for him and his desire to work more with his hands.

McDougald said he felt well prepared for the exhibition, which can be challenging for the students working in front of so many people.

“Everything that we put into practice, day in and day out, really came out during the expo,” McDougald said. “The instructors are the best thing about the program. They tried to help us grow and learn everything we could in the best possible way.”

While ULCS was not one of the companies at the exhibition for this class, Diggs and McDougald had sent the company and several others their applications prior to graduating from the program. Part of the requirements of the program is completing job applications with multiple utility companies so that the students are positioned to have job offers before graduation day.

“We give these students 14 weeks of excellent training, so it is highly important to us that they find a job to use these skills and start building a career,” said Mitch Daugherty, Electric Lineman Program coordinator.

Matthew Bullard of Rockingham had three interviews lined up with Lee Electric, MasTec and DSI the week after graduation.

Bullard learned about the program last year and said he is glad that he signed up.

“The best part is knowing you’re going to make a difference and have a purpose once you complete this class,” Bullard said.

The next Electric Lineman class at RichmondCC begins May 1. To enroll, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. To sign up, call 910-410-1700 or visit the Hamlet or Scotland County Campus.

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