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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is May 29, 2017

Editorial

Linemen demonstrate their skills and commitment 24/7

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

I am a huge fan of “Star Wars” movies. They have it all: lots of action, great characters and awesome special effects. But when I watch the latest “Star Wars” film, I don’t think about how many people and months of effort it took to make all that happen. Frankly, I’m not interested. I just want to be entertained.

You might feel the same way about your electric service. You flip a switch and expect your lights and appliances to spring into action. How your electric cooperative makes that happen may not have ever entered your mind.

But this month I encourage you to take a few moments to think about it, as electric cooperatives in Mississippi and throughout the country observe National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 10.

Electricity comes to a substation in your area through high-voltage power lines (the ones on tall towers). The local linemen’s job is to build and maintain a safe, reliable network of power lines to deliver the electricity from the substation to your electric meter.

The job demands extraordinary safety knowledge and awareness—and a strong commitment to service. A lineman’s job centers on:

• doing what it takes to keep your electric service on every hour of the day and night;

• responding immediately to power outages, regardless of the weather conditions or day of the week; and

• returning home safely when the job is done.

You might not consider power lines to be a thing of beauty, but the linemen who build them do. A well-constructed power line is a source of pride for electric cooperative crews, and a testament to their special skills.

Some of the linemen involved in rebuilding destroyed power lines after Hurricane Katrina told us they took the destruction personally. The hurricane wiped out years of their hard work in just a matter of hours.

But such is the life of a lineman. Everyone who chooses utility line work as a career knows that rebuilding what storms rip down is a routine part of the job.

The demands of the job can be tough, but most any lineman will tell you how the trust and friendships they share with crew members make the work easier, safer and more enjoyable.

 

Think you might want to become a lineman or know someone who might? Do you know a high school senior wondering what to do after graduation?

You can learn about careers in Mississippi’s electric utility sector in the Mississippi Energy Institute’s Get on the Grid website, GetontheGridms.com.

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi is a supporter of MEI and its valuable online resource, which also includes information about careers in advanced manufacturing.

Energy and manufacturing provide jobs for more than 150,000 skilled workers in Mississippi, and many more workers are needed. These jobs pay well, yet most of them do not require a college degree.

Get on the Grid’s website outlines the training and skills that job applicants need to have before they apply for positions. It even offers tips for successful job interviews and salary ranges for specific jobs.

The website also provides links to training programs at community colleges throughout the state.

Get on the Grid is a partner of MississippiWorks.org, a program of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. You can find links to utility job openings throughout Mississippi and the region at MississippiWorks.org.

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