Joining Forces for a Brighter Future

Tampa Electric joined Hillsborough Community College and local chambers to announce a new Electrical Line Worker Training Program.

A game-changing program is ready to help students ignite their careers in the electric utility industry. Recognizing a local need for skilled electrical line workers, Tampa Electric is joining forces with Hillsborough Community College (HCC) to launch the new Electrical Line Worker Training Program.

Starting this fall on the HCC Brandon Campus, the program will help address a critical workforce demand. “Tampa Electric is very proud to sponsor this new training program by constructing an on-campus training yard, and offering full scholarships to eligible students,” said Chip Whitworth, Tampa Electric’s Vice President of Electric Delivery, to a crowd of supporters gathered on campus during the July 26 ribbon cutting. “This project will help us create a workforce that ensures our customers will have electricity for generations to come.”

Cutting the ribbon to the Electrical Line Worker Training Program at the HCC Brandon Campus on July 26 (from L to R): Velma Lewis, Tampa Electric’s Manager of ID&E & Organizational Effectiveness, Matt Lettelleir, Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Dr. Deborah Kish, President of HCC Brandon Campus, Dr. Ken Atwater, HCC President, Chip Whitworth, Tampa Electric’s VP of Electric Delivery, Ryan Buckthorpe, Director for the Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education, Tony Faison, Tampa Electric’s Manager of Electric Delivery Engineering & Operations and Katie Lopez, Tampa Bay Chamber VP of Member Engagement.

For Chip, the new training program is especially meaningful having attended HCC before earning his Civil and Structural Engineering and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of South Florida. “Our contributions of scholarships and program equipment mean that more folks who couldn’t afford this training before can now pursue their dreams,” said Chip. “This program gives students a head start and it gives Tampa Electric one too.”

Pledging more than $300,000 annually for scholarships and relevant program equipment, TECO will offer a $6,500 scholarship for those who qualify. Qualifying students will have the opportunity to learn fundamental skills needed to become a line worker trainee in the electric utility industry. The program is a four-month journey packed with 420 hours of training. Once completed, students will earn certifications in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour, Bucket Truck Rescue, CPR & Automated External Defibrillator use, Pole-Top Rescue and First Aid.

“Every student who successfully completes the program will be encouraged to interview with Tampa Electric for an entry-level line worker position.” said Chip. “They’ll hopefully embark on a career with a company that values its team members and their safety above all else. Together with HCC, the Tampa Electric family is very proud to help students enter a powerful career and one day, help keep the lights on!”

Ryan Buckthorpe, Director of the Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education at HCC, will oversee the program with a team on the Brandon campus. “Tampa Electric has been an amazing partner, from curriculum development to sourcing for talented instructors to the development of our mock pole yard. This is one of the best examples of an industry-educational organization partnership that I have had the opportunity to be a part of.”

Tampa Bay Chamber’s Vice President of Member Engagement Katie Lopez agreed. “This partnership between TECO and Hillsborough Community College exemplifies what can be achieved when employers and academic institutions work together to develop solutions to address workforce needs,” said Katie. “This program not only provides a skilled-talent pipeline for TECO, it also builds economic pathways for members of our community.”

Tampa Electric looks forward to witnessing the bright future that this partnership will create for Tampa Bay! If you know someone who would like to take charge of their career and join this program, click here to get all the information to apply.

blog_joiningforces3.jpgSo that HCC students can gain hands-on experience, TECO crews installed 40-feet high mock electrical poles along with mock transformer pads, a bucket truck and a line truck.