AEP’s line school in Groveport, Ohio instructs approximately 200 lineworker and meter electrician apprentices every year. On Wednesday, November 15, the facility opened its doors to a new group of students: 50 juniors and seniors from Walnut Ridge High School in southeast Columbus.
In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of apprenticeship programs and jumpstart careers, the students visited AEP’s training center to get a closer look at a career in linework. They got the chance to test various tools and pieces of equipment while learning about AEP’s linework apprenticeship program and other career opportunities at the company.
Jason Hatfield is an educator at Walnut Ridge High School. He said visits like these are extremely important to the students as they begin to chart out what to do with their lives after graduation.
“It’s great exposure,” said Mr. Hatfield. “They don’t yet understand all the opportunities available to them and all they hear is, ‘go to college, go to college, go to college’ — but college isn’t for everybody. I want our students to know you can make a good living with a rewarding career without it.”
Ryan Jones, who supervises the trainers at the facility, said several groups similar to Walnut Ridge visit throughout the year to learn about linework and other careers in the utility industry. He said many jobseekers never consider the profession.
“A lot of young people don’t understand what it means to work on utility lines, or that it’s even a career opportunity,” said Ryan. “Linework isn’t just an option, it’s a good option. And it’s not just a job — it’s a career, if you choose to make it one.”
The apprenticeship event wasn’t just a benefit to the students; the instructors at AEP loved the opportunity to connect with the next generation to widen their horizons of the opportunities before them, too.
“Educating is our passion, and that’s just what we do at the line school every day,” Ryan continued. “Many of these students want to learn but they don’t even know where to start. We want to show them all the opportunities we have here at AEP.”
Their efforts succeeded. As a group of students who had planned on looking for construction jobs after graduation watched a lineworker demonstrate how to climb a utility pole, they talked about wanting to try it too. The students’ curiosity was stirred and they’re now considering linework as they consider future careers.
Spark your interest? Learn more at AEP.com/Careers where you can see what positions we have posted, plus set up alert notifications that will e-mail you the moment a position matching your career goals and qualifications is listed. Please note that Line Mechanic-D is the apprentice opportunity within the lineworker job family.