From Farm Hand to FastForward

Luke has always been something of a ranch hand. Growing up in Southside Virginia, he’s worked the fields and farms that crisscross this rural landscape and become a bit of an agricultural expert in the process.

There hasn’t been much else to do. Job opportunities have historically been relatively scarce in this neck of the woods.

But when word of Southside Virginia Community College’s Power Line Worker training school reached Luke, things began to change quickly.

“I was tired of working on different farms, insulation businesses and stuff like that. I knew I wanted something different and better and I knew it was going to be hard to get a job in this industry without some sort of training. So, I signed up.”

The 19-year old was one of more than a dozen members of the school’s inaugural class. After 11 weeks of intensive training, he graduated and earned a handful of life-changing certificates and credentials. More importantly, he found a good-paying job.

“While I was in the program, I started applying to jobs and I got an offer to work with Southside Virginia Electric Cooperative which was my number one choice. We graduated on a Thursday and I started work the next Monday.”

Even though he’s still training, Luke says he’s looking forward to his first real climb up a utility pole

“Just about every other outdoor job, you don’t have to work because you’re staying home with your family. But, linemen are out there, putting your power back on, no matter what the weather conditions are.”