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TVA, Huntsville Utilities, Calhoun form power grid trio with scholarships 

HUNTSVILLE – Education and workforce facilitators have been looking at ways to accelerate the point from high school graduation into the human resources pool indirectly.

Calhoun Community College might now be the destination for teenagers looking to become a lineman, not to be confused with the type that plays football. A partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority and Huntsville Utilities will provide $100,000 in scholarship funding to train and educate utility lineworkers.

The term lineman, or linesman, is still in use but the job is open to women as well.

Calhoun will manage the scholarships and enroll students in the college’s Pre-Apprentice Lineworker Program. The partnership was created to address the growth in the Huntsville-Madison County population, which led to a demand for services resulting in an increased need for utility lineworkers.

As part of this partnership, a total of 10 recipients will be selected among applicants to receive a scholarship, which includes free tuition for the seven-week course, a daily gift card for lunch, and a bag equipped with basic lineworker tools upon graduation.

“As electricity demand grows, we need a skilled workforce to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable power,” said Jared Mitchem, regional vice president for TVA’s South Region. “Partnering with Huntsville Utilities and Calhoun Community College ensures that we can recruit and train the workforce we need as we build the energy system of the future.”

TVA has more than 16,000 miles of power lines that crisscross seven states, plus approximately 263,000 miles of lines that are managed by 153 local power companies.

Hayden Grubbs recently completed the program.

“I learned a lot from it, more than anything else I’ve done in a 7-week period,” Grubbs, who’s a groundman with aspirations to be a lineman, said. “It was very hands-on and not just sitting in a classroom. The instructors were very straightforward and gave us important information about safety practices, so that when we joined the workforce, we would know how to protect ourselves and recognize the qualities of a good boss.

“After the program, I feel 100 percent prepared.”

Four scholarship recipients have completed the required coursework, with the most recent two being recognized at the Calhoun Community College graduation Dec. 15. Madison County residents who are interested in the program can register and submit a scholarship application for the next course starting in January 2024 at https://calhoun.edu/workforce-solutions/pre-apprentice-lineworker-program/.

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