Line crews invest in future generation of utility workers

A lot of high school students get summer jobs bagging groceries or working a drive thru at a fast food restaurant. This summer, nine local high schoolers took a non-traditional route as distribution interns in our Students Interested in Technical Education (SITE) program. They learned the job of a distribution trainee and helped our line crews keep power flowing to our growing community.

Josh Maskill, one of our Distribution Interns, traded in his wash rag and bucket for a toolbelt and hardhat. Last year, while working at a Wash Tub, Josh found out about the opportunity while talking to one of his regular customers, Thomas Wilborn, a Journeyman Cable Splicer with our Integrated Underground Construction & Maintenance team. Thomas encouraged him to apply for the internship. A few months later, Josh got word that he was selected.

The interns worked with experienced team members like Line Crew Foreman Will Schneider and Journeyman Lineman Kevin Beavers. Toward the end of the summer program, interns met up with their mentors at our Eastside Training Center to practice their new skills. Check out this video to learn more.

(Image) Interns practice using a handline to safely send up tools to linemen working in bucket trucks.
Interns practice using a handline to safely send up tools to linemen working in bucket trucks.

After working with interns to install cross-arms on a utility pole, mentors gave feedback on their work with a handline – a rope on a pulley that distribution trainees use to send up tools and equipment to linemen working on a pole. Like coaches on a football team, the mentors have encouraged the interns to work together, watch each other’s backs and keep getting better at their skill position.

“Out here, you have to keep learning,” said Kevin. “I’ve been here 12 years and I keep learning something new every day. It’s a waste of a day if you don’t learn something new.”

Later, the group huddled in the shade of the only small oak tree in the training yard. The mentors talked about their rewarding careers and encouraged the interns to apply for current positions.

“I have a passion for what I do,” said Kevin. “And if you stay here, you’re going to find the same thing. You have to have a lot of pride and heart for this.”

Several of the distribution interns applied for utility worker positions and are eager to jumpstart their career at our company. So far, we’ve hired a distribution intern after every summer since the program started in 2017.

Over the years, CPS Energy has created a career pipeline through its internship programs. Since 2016, CPS Energy has hired on 22 summer interns for various roles across the company. This summer, we’ve continued our tradition of investing in the future generation by providing hands-on experience to about 60 summer interns that have been working at various positions throughout our company.

Sam Taylor

Sam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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