Manager’s Message – November 2023

Lane Electric Apprenticeships

Dear Co-op Members:

As we approach storm season, I want to take a minute to highlight the vital training that goes into becoming a lineworker.

There’s tremendous demand in this field, which is critical to keeping our lives powered. In 2022, there were an estimated 21,500 lineworker job openings across the country, and demand is expected to grow 8.5% by 2026.

1 of the ways Lane Electric supports the industry is through funding an annual scholarship to the Vocational Outside Line Training Academy (VOLTA). Licensed through the Oregon Department of Education, VOLTA is a private, nonprofit vocational training school that prepares students for entry-level positions as groundworkers in the outside-line industry.

In 2023, we were thrilled to award 2 VOLTA scholarships. In 2024, we expect to fund 1 scholarship. Applications will open in early November.

The cooperative also offers an apprenticeship program in partnership with the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. Lane Electric’s lineworkers prepare apprentices with on-the-job training. Participants build, repair and maintain the power lines that carry electricity across our communities.

From the point of generation at the power plants to the member’s meter, lineworkers are responsible for power lines and overhead structures ranging upward of 300 feet tall to underground vaults and trenches.

In addition to Lane Electric, the JATC includes Emerald Public Utility District, the Springfield Utility Board and Blachly-Lane Electric Cooperative.

I want to congratulate Blake Wilskey, who was recently invited into Lane Electric’s apprenticeship program by the JATC. Blake joins Cole Kasten in a 3-year comprehensive training program to become a journeyman lineman.

Finally, I want to thank our journeyman lineworkers for supporting ride-alongs for those interested in VOLTA, and their dedication and commitment to the training of our apprentices, which is crucial to their ultimate success.

Debi Wilson