By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
The energy in the room was electric on Friday, January 19, 2024, when representatives from SUNY Broome and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) jointly announced the creation of their newest partnership, the Lineworker Training Program.
Dr. Tony D. Hawkins, President of SUNY Broome, beamed as he welcomed all in attendance and highlighted the power of collaboration between the modern Community’s College and one of the region’s top industries.
In less than a year from inception to fruition, SUNY Broome’s Office of Workforce Development & Continuing Education, NYSEG’s Department of Technical Training & Development, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 10, conceived a comprehensive lineworker training program that provides the foundation for installing and maintaining electrical power lines.
Through a combination of classroom instruction at SUNY Broome, hands-on training at NYSEG’s pole yard, and a paid internship, students will be prepared to assume a highly skilled position within the utility industry. At the program’s conclusion, students will have the opportunity to interview with NYSEG and other regional employers.
President & CEO of NYSEG & RG&E, Trish Nilsen, thanked SUNY Broome for partnering with NYSEG and stressed the importance of training and retaining a pool of local, proficient line professionals.
“Electrical workers are the backbone of what we do at NYSEG… As winter storms have illustrated for us over the past few weeks, electrical workers are a resource that we must protect and grow. Not just to restore power after erratic weather, but also to maintain and improve our grid and provide safe and reliable service to the community,” said Nilsen.
Due to the physical requirements of the line work profession, participants in the program will be pre-screened through a physical assessment conducted in February and March 2024. Under supervision, applicants must be able to climb a utility pole safely to be accepted into the program.
Additional program requirements include:
- High School Diploma or GED
- Must be eligible to obtain and maintain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Pass a drug screening
If selected, the first training session will begin on April 15, 2024.
Several public officials attended the press conference to extend their support for the program’s commitment to regional workforce retention and to encourage their constituents to take advantage of this unique opportunity to enter such a specialized field.
Public officials included:
- Senator Lea Webb – representing Senate District 52
- Assemblyman Joe Angelino – representing Assembly District 121
- Jason Garnar – Broome County Executive
- Mike Marinaccio – Town of Dickinson Supervisor
Danielle Britton, Director of Training, Education, and Workforce Development, invited anyone interested in learning more about the program to attend one of several informational sessions hosted on SUNY Broome’s campus and at various locations within the community.
Those who may be deterred by the physicality of line work, but who would still like to enter the utility industry are encouraged to enroll in one of SUNY Broome’s Engineering Technologies or Business programs as a pathway to many technical and customer service positions at NYSEG.
For more information, please visit SUNY Broome’s Lineworker Training Program page.