The Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) is excited to partner with the Cullman Electric Cooperative to add a Power Lineman/Fiber Optic Training Program to CATA beginning in the Fall of 2022. The program will be open to current high school juniors and will include classroom instruction at CATA and hands-on field training through the Cullman Electric Cooperative.

Sprout Fiber Internet Manager of Network Operations Mark Freeman demonstrates how to splice a single strand of fiber optic cable.

Modules will include an introduction to electrical power and hazards, electrical safety, protective equipment, and fiber optics. Students will also have an opportunity to earn multiple industry-recognized credentials such as OSHA 10 and Certified Fiber Optic Training (CFOT). This program will allow students to enter the workforce with the fundamental skills needed to further their education through work-based training or in a pre-apprenticeship program. Students will be prepared for a successful career as a power lineman in a field where the median salary is approximately $65,000 annually.

Cullman Electric Cooperative has been enhancing the quality of life for its members since 1936. Lineman work hard to make sure you have limited interruptions in electrical service and seek ways to improve our community. Cuman Electric Cooperative has always been a strong supporter of education and created Operation Round Up in 1993 as another way to help schools and impact education. We are thankful to the Cullman Electric Cooperative for their continued support and for their guidance in bringing this opportunity to our students.

Students interested in participating in the lineman program or who want to learn more about it may apply here and contact the Cullman Area Technology Academy or their school counselor. A student/parent information night will be held on Thursday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cullman Area Technology Academy.

Cullman County Schools is currently seeking a part-time instructor for the program. A qualified candidate must have a strong math/science background, with preferred experience in electrical or mechanical engineering or experience as a lineman within the past five years.

Equipment for the program will be purchased with a donation from the Cullman Electric Cooperative board of trustees and a matching grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA Community Care Fund was created in 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and this year will provide up to $5 million for projects that are providing needed community services as pandemic recovery continues.

Statement by Tim Culpepper, CEO, Cullman Electric Cooperative

“Our community is growing, which means our cooperative is growing as well. Building and maintaining our electrical infrastructure along with the fiber-optic cable and broadband equipment that power Sprout Fiber Internet requires skilled and well-trained men and women. We are excited to partner with Cullman County Schools and the Cullman Area Technology Academy on this program. It will prepare students for good paying jobs that are in high demand both locally and across the country and will help meet Cullman Electric’s workforce needs into the future.”

Statement by Dr. Shane Barnette, Cullman County School Superintendent

“We are so excited about this new opportunity for our students. We are constantly searching for exceptional educational experiences that lead to brighter futures. Cullman Electric Cooperative’s work to bring power to our community revolutionized our society, and the same thing is happening now with the expansion of fiber internet. This is a perfect opportunity for our students to prepare for a rewarding career in either path. We already have several students who are interested, and we are thankful to the Cullman Electric Cooperative for their continued partnership.”