Meet Ethan Reece, a Fall 2021 graduate from East Central Community College’s (ECCC) Weekend Lineman program, led by utility industry veteran and Lineman Instructor, Curtis Bradley.
Q: What made you choose the line program you completed?
Ethan: “I applied and was chosen by the ECCC Lineman Instructor Curtis Bradley. This program requires an application and you must meet certain criteria such as the ECCC Workkeys testing, a physical, a background check as well as obtaining your CDL permit. This training course allowed me to work a job four days a week and attend lineman training on the weekend. It was within an hour of my home and was very economical. I also had friends and family who recommend this specific lineman program for its effectiveness in getting the graduates a job once they graduate.”
Q: Why did you choose this career over other opportunities?
Ethan: ”I have worked ever since I could remember even through high school and I have had several jobs and been able to experience construction, landscaping, pipeline work, heavy equipment operator, etc. When I decided to become a lineman I truly felt like I was guided by the good Lord. The stars aligned, you could say. I was encouraged by friends and family and I just knew it was the right path for me. When thinking about your future when you're 18 or so, you don't want to do something that you will hate every day. You also don't want to get bored with your choice. In life, you can count on one hand how many jobs really provide job security for your future—there’s law enforcement, military, the medical field, and the way we live, which relies on our beloved power grid, which we all take for granted.
People don't understand what sacrifices are made to maintain the power grid in the US and around the world. It is maintained by electrical line workers that sacrifice lots of time away from their friends and families to keep the "lights on" for the community as well as the manufacturing industry. That was the person I wanted to be. Every day Mr. Curtis Bradley inspired me not only to be the best lineman I could be but to also thank God each and every day for my many blessings. Not only was he a great instructor he ended up being a great friend.”
Q: What advice can you offer to others who are interested in getting started in the electrical utility industry?
Ethan: “Be ready to give it all your focus and all of your time. Whether you're maintaining the grid with your local power company or with a contractor traveling, the electrical utility industry is not a game. Listen to your Instructor while in training and listen to your lineman in the field. There’s no room for mistakes and no shortcuts. Shortcuts can cost lives.
You have to come to work every day fresh and leave all worries, feelings, and stress at the house. This is a high pressure, high stress job. I grew up with a Daddy that worked offshore; he does to this day. He was either at home or at work so I felt like I was already mentally prepared for sacrificing time away from family and friends. I knew what it felt like growing up and I knew what it would take. his job may take you to locations that may require you to live there for several months at a time. If you can't handle being away or gone from your family, this line of work is not for you. But, at the end of the day when you get in your vehicle to head home, wherever that may be, you feel a sense of tremendous pride in the work you have done and the second family that you have developed on The Line.
We are our brother’s keeper. This job has real-life dangers, pay attention. Grounds save lives.”
Q: After completing the program, what was the recruitment process like?
Ethan: “Mr. Curtis is very involved with the recruitment procedure in his program. Several power companies, as well as contracting services, maintain lines of communication with him while his training class is in progress. When it comes down to placement in the job Mr. Curtis tries to accommodate your preferred location to work but that is not always the case. The end goal is to get you a job no matter where. His job placement rate is very high. In my graduating class, 90% of the graduates had jobs when we finished. He also helps you create a professional resume/CV to submit to potential employers during training. Mr. Curtis will conduct mock interviews in the classroom as well as out on the training yard. Mr. Curtis and his contacts via social media get your name and abilities out there for all to see. I was recruited with Maslonka Powerline Services four weeks before graduation. I have been with them since October 21, 2021, and am currently in the Apprenticeship Program there.”
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