First ALT Graduates

Martin Community College’s first class of Apprentice Line Technician graduates. The graduates include Matthew Bailey, Chris Brantley, Jonathan Buck, Mason Dunlow, Alexander Gedrimas, Timothy Lee, Jacob Modlin, Chase Perry, Joseph Perry, Tyler Pleasants, Jamarii Satterthwaite, Alden Stalls, Caleb Tyson, and Javon Vines. Instructors Steve Johnson, Troy Revels and John Walton led the first time class.

Williamston – Martin Community College recently celebrated a new chapter in the school’s history.

On Dec. 16, 14 students were recognized for successfully completing MCC’s first Apprentice Line Technician (ALT) Academy.

The 420-hour ALT program is offered through MCC’s Division of Continuing Education and was made possible through a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The students represented seven communities in four counties.

Chris Brantley, Mason Dunlow, Tyler Pleasants and Jamarii Satterthwaite were from Windsor.

Jamesville residents Jonathan Buck, Chase Perry and Joseph Perry were among the graduates.

Two students from Williamston were Alden Stalls and Caleb Tyson.

Students from Plymouth were Timothy Lee and Javon Vines.

Matthew Bailey lives in Stokes.

Alexander Gedrimas hales from Robersonville and Jacob Modlin resides in Bethel.

Due to the pandemic, the graduation ceremony was held for a small, socially distanced and masked audience comprised of the students, limited family members, the instructors and MCC staff.

Nathan Mizell, MCC’s Vice President of Continuing Education, kicked off the ceremony by welcoming those in attendance and praising the students for their hard work and determination over the past four months.

MCC President Wesley Beddard joined Mizell on the stage in offering congratulatory remarks to the students and thanks to the many sponsors of the program.

The audience also enjoyed a fast-paced pictorial presentation of the students’ participation in various training activities, which can be viewed on the MCC FaceBook page.

Leslie Bond, MCC’s Registrar for the Division of Continuing Education, joined Beddard and Mizell on the stage to distribute certificates of completion to the students.

Mizell concluded the program and reminded the students to participate in the “mini job fair” immediately following the ceremony in MCC’s Public Safety Training classrooms.

Edgecombe Martin Electric Membership Corporation, Dominion Energy, Roanoke Electric Cooperative and River City Construction each had company representatives on hand to meet the students in person and discuss job openings.

The city of New Bern’s electric department has already hired one student.

Steve Johnson, Troy Revels and John Walton, all seasoned veterans from the power transmission industry, served as instructors for the ALT Academy.

Both Johnson and Revels worked for Dominion Energy prior to their recent retirement, and Walston retired from the City of Wilson’s Electric Department.

The trio was instrumental in developing a program that was relevant for both the students and the industries that will hire them.

When asked his thoughts about his first experience as a college instructor, Walton said, “Utilities, like electricity, water and sewer services, are the backbone of America’s strength. It has been good to see the younger generation stepping up and stepping in to take the place of the Baby Boomers and keep our country running smoothly.”

Key industry partners - Dominion Energy, Edgecombe/Martin Electric Membership Corporation, Halifax Electric, ElectriCities and Roanoke Electric Corporation - also provided input in the Academy’s curriculum development as well as some equipment for the program and/or job opportunities for programs participants may interview.

The partners projected their demand for labor to be 240 to 450 workers over the next three to five years.

The 420 hours of instruction included the following topics: basic electricity and its related math, climbing techniques (positioning lanyards, belt hoist operation, chain hoist operation, and fall arrest), first-aid and CPR, pole top and bucket rescue, underground excavations, PPE, flagger training, telescopic and shotgun stick use, arial framing, materials/hardware, wire types and their associated tools, ties and tie wire, personal protective grounding, metering and service installation, transformer types and installation, CDL permit requirements/guidance/operation for line, bucket, and excavator trucks, and equipment set-up for jobs.

This course of study was designed to make the completers desirable candidates for employment among numerous municipal, rural and commercial power providers.

Starting wages for apprentice line technicians in eastern North Carolina are generally around $17 per hour with seasoned veterans reaching an average of $50 per hour.

MCC is greatly appreciative of the significant grant support from the Golden LEAF Foundation, as well as tremendous support from Edgecombe Martin Electric Membership Corporation (EMEMC), Dominion Energy and Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) in starting this program.

Golden LEAF funds were used for supplies, student materials and training equipment.

A line truck and startup funds were donated by EMEMC.

Dominion Energy donated the poles and labor to erect them. Materials for building the lines were donated by REC.

MCC’s second ALT Academy will begin in Spring 2021. The class will meet 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Thursday on the MCC campus in Williamston located at 1611 Kehukee Park Road).

Once the class gets underway, the meeting hours will vary to accommodate outdoor activities.

Applications are now being accepted and are available on the Continuing Education page of MCC’s website at https://www.martincc.edu/otherconed.

The fee for this class is $180. However, financial aid is available, and students are encouraged to apply.

Additional inquiries may be directed to MCC’s Vice President of Continuing Education, Nathan Mizell, at 252-789-0232 or via email at nathan.mizell@martincc.edu.

Sarah Hodges Stalls can be reached via email at shstalls@ncweeklies.com