Duke Energy & PCUL offer sessions for prime lineworker jobs

BY STEVE TRAIMAN Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — In their newest joint endeavor, Duke Energy and the Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL) are presenting information sessions for key Electrical Lineworker job opportunities.

The first two of four hour-long sessions drew about 50 very enthusiastic attendees, according to Marshae Scott, Career Coordinator at the PCUL Career Connection Center. They were held March 25 and 27 at PCUL headquarters, 333 31 St. N., St. Petersburg.

A third session there is 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, April 2. Last session is 6:30 p.m. Tues., April 7, at the North Greenwood Recreation Center, 900 N. Martin Luther King Ave., Clearwater.

Commenting on this new initiative, Dave Maxon, Duke Senior Vice President of Florida Delivery Operations, told The Weekly Challenger: “It is important to Duke Energy that our workforce reflects the communities we serve. We constantly strive to infuse our company with a steady stream of qualified lineworkers.”

Adds Watson L. Haynes, PCUL President & CEO, who welcomed attendees to both sessions: “It is a significant event in the community when Duke Energy opens its doors and then aggressively goes after the African-American population to become employees of the company.”

Duke reached out to the PCUL and said that they wanted to do more in the community. Haynes feels that’s the sign of a good company, and that these jobs can help to facilitate the creation of more people in the middle class while providing for long-term employment.

After attending one of the information sessions, you may be invited to a one-day boot camp with Duke Energy to discuss safety, view job demonstrations and obtain tips on preparing for the interview and Construction and Skilled Trades Test (CAST). Boot camp attendees will receive a certificate and Duke Energy will be posting positions in the Pinellas County area.

April Harley, Duke Supplier Diversity Specialist, noted: “I got into this program as our point person because of my role last year as chair of our employee resource group Advocates for African American.

The information sessions are a brief overview of the company, the position, the qualifications, pre-employment requirements and Q&A.  Attendees will complete a very short questionnaire to be considered for an invitation to the one-day boot camp to be held on a Saturday later in April.

Basic qualifications include a high school diploma or GED, valid driver’s license, willingness to work at heights up to 30 feet, with experience working with one’s hands and a variety of tools very helpful.  Of course, being able to work in a “safety first” environment at all times is critical, remarked Harley.

Harley feels that the required Construction and Skilled Trades Test (CAST) is for many the most difficult aspect to overcome. The test assesses reading comprehension, mechanical concepts, mathematical usage and graphic arithmetic.

Resources and recommendations for test preparations are provided at the information sessions. Once the CAST test is passed, it is good forever and is accepted by most utility companies.

Starting pay is approximately $17-18 per hour for entry-level, which is about $720 for a 40-hour week or about $37,500 annually. Seasoned lineworkers are in demand and can make significant income with overtime and progression.

“It can be a very rewarding, lifelong career,” finished Harley.

Space is limited so please sign up to attend an information session today to get a chance to register for the boot camp!

Contact Marshae Scott at (727) 327-2081 x112 or mscott@pcul.org.

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