Building lamps and career paths
By Debra Gibson Isaacs from October 2013 Issue
A lighting tradition
Energy Solutions Manager Denise Myers has been teaching kids to build lamps for 20 years and says the lamp-making program at Blue Grass Energy Cooperative goes back even farther. Today, Blue Grass Energy often teams with the area Cooperative Extension Service to teach kids the importance of electricity, how to be safe, and, of course, how to make a cool lamp.
"This is a great way for us to be involved in our community and teach not only our members but others in the community about electricity," Myers says. "Plus, they get to make these cute little lamps."
Supporting new linemen
Travis Angel of McKee is the third recipient of the Jackson Energy Cooperative Scholarship Program for the Lineman Training Program at Somerset Community College. Angel's tuition will be completely covered through the scholarship. His future job prospects look equally bright: more than 90 percent of the program's graduates have been placed in jobs with either electric utilities or electric contractor companies.
"This program will help our industry replace the baby boomers who are approaching retirement," says Carol Wright, chair of the community college's lineman training advisory committee. "This isn't just a job, it's a career. The average salary for a lineman in rural Kentucky is $60,000 a year."
Students learn about electric careers
Jeremy Swift, a lineman with Hickman-Fulton Counties Rural Electric Cooperative, had fun recruiting junior colleagues from Andrea Davis' kindergarten class at Hickman County Elementary School in Hickman. Swift talked with the youngest recruits about what the job is like, how daily work goes, and what happens during storms.
"We are always excited to be invited to speak to the children in our community," says Greg Grissom, manager of Hickman-Fulton Counties RECC. "The linemen enjoy the community involvement and teaching children about career opportunities within our cooperative."