Municipal Lineman Training Now Hosted In Newberry

 In Local News

Newberry is now the home of the ElectriCities of North Carolina – South Carolina Safety and Training School. The first round of training began March 13 and City of Newberry Utility Director Tim Baker said he’s excited for what this could mean for economic development.

The school is the first municipal lineman training school in South Carolina, Baker said, with two being in North Carolina.

Previously, municipal lineman in South Carolina were trained through the South Carolina Electric and Gas Company (SCE&G) municipal lineman training program. After being purchased by Dominion Energy, the program ended, Baker said.

“This forced municipalities in South Carolina to look for alternatives,” he said. “ElectriCities was looking to begin a site in South Carolina and trying to find a host city close to the center part of the state.”

Baker said the city submitted an application to become the host city, in that application listing information on local restaurants, retail and accommodations.

“After speaking with the city manager and elected officials, it felt like a good economic development driver for Newberry,” Baker said.

The class contains a classroom portion, hosted by the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center and hands-on field training that takes place behind the old Gallman School in Newberry. Those participating in the class are considered apprentice lineman, Baker said.

City Manager Matt DeWitt said he was enthusiastic about the city’s partnership with ElectriCities of North Carolina.

“I am excited Newberry will be the place where municipal linemen from around the state will come to be trained, and am equally excited about the economic impact this school will have on the community for years to come,” DeWitt said.

Michelle Long, director of the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce said the training taking place in the city was an asset to the entire community.

“Not only are the trainees patronizing area hotels, restaurants and other establishments, but the hope is that they not only return to the area but also tell others about their positive experiences in those establishments and entice others to visit the area,” Long said.

In the future, Baker said the hope would be to allow students from the Newberry County Career Center the opportunity to tour and observe some of the training, potentially exposing them to a career that they might not have otherwise considered.

Craig Batchelor, manager of safety and training at ElectriCities said along with helping lineworkers gain the skills to work safely and efficiently, the training programs provided create a rewarding career pathway and they were honored to bring that valuable education to South Carolina municipal lineworkers.

“We’re grateful to everyone involved in establishing this training facility,” Batchelor said. “Tim Baker and Mayor Senn have been excellent partners throughout the process. And the site wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all the lineworkers from Newberry and other South Carolina municipalities who volunteered their time and resources to help us build it.”