CULINARY ARTS STUDENTS from Cairo High School learn from Ann Hopkins about catering opportunities through her company, Storm Services. Students pictured, l-r: Alexis Barber, Anna Grace Diamond, Savannah McKinney, Sydney Lewis, Madison Jesson, Callie Lauder and Mrs. Whitney Brown; not pictured: Emma Butler, Chaney Johnson and Monica Puac Perez.
Learning how to be a lineworker for electrical utilities will soon be a class option offered to Cairo High School students. Southern Regional Technical College is offering the program, and students from Cairo and surrounding communities got a sneak peak at it Thursday at an “Energy Industry Expo” held at Grady Cultural Center. The expo promoted the new educational opportunity known as C.L.I.M.B. or Center for Lineworker Instruction, Mentorship and Basics.
At the expo, area employers showed students what careers they can find in the energy industry with an emphasis on being a lineworker. Those employers included Oglethorpe Power, Georgia Transmission Corporation, Pike Corporation, Green Power E.M.C., Storm Services, City of Cairo and Grady E.M.C.
Adam Starr, marketing and member services for Grady E.M.C., said, “Grady E.M.C. is excited to see all the buzz generated about the C.L.I.M.B. program that will be offered in the fall of 2020. We are hopeful that we will have the opportunity to hire our next generation of lineworkers out of this program.”
Starr said the expo was a successful promotion of the new educational avenue for students. “The students had the chance to see the many facets of this industry and the job opportunities that await them after graduation,” said Starr. “The City of Cairo had some of their lineworkers at the event demonstrating climbing, and Grady EMC had some of our lineworkers there with the ‘Liveline’ demonstration trailer. Between the two companies, I believe the students were able to get a real feel for what it’s like to do linework.”
Whitney Brown, instructor of culinary arts for Cairo High, said even her students learned about catering opportunities for lineworkers. “Mrs. Ann Hopkins (of Storm Services) spoke with our students about the demand for caterers when they serve linemen and electricians during a storm,” explained Mrs. Brown. The culinary students served more than 250 bagged lunches to expo attendees and vendors.
In addition to Cairo, five other schools sent students to the expo. Those schools were Bainbridge High School, Baker County High School, Pelham High School and Thomas County Central High School. In all, about 150 students attended the event, according to Todd Gainous, C.E.O. of the College and Career Academy at C.H.S.
“The purpose of the expo was to give the students a brief exposure to the Energy Industry. The partners all wanted to take part and they did. Ogelthorpe Power and Storm Services provided the lunch. Gresco provided the bottled water and all of the companies provided some little token for each student to take away from the event,” said Gainous.
Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools, said he thinks the C.L.I.M.B. program provides students with a promising option. “This program will prepare students who want to begin work upon graduation with a foundation to gain a job that pays a living wage locally, as well as in any part of our nation. And, with just a couple more years of experience and training, they can be making $100,000 plus. I hope parents and students realize the opportunity that is being made available by Southern Regional Technical College, Grady County Schools, and our private partners, Grady E.M.C., Storm Services and the City of Cairo.“