Posted on Monday, July 25, 2016

Luke Storey has always been something of a ranch hand. Growing up in Southside Virginia, he’s worked the fields and farms that crisscross this rural landscape and become a bit of an agricultural expert in the process.

There hasn’t been much else to do. Job opportunities have historically been relatively scarce in this neck of the woods.

But then, word of Southside Virginia Community College’s Power Line Worker training school reached Storey and things began to change quickly.

“I was tired of working on different farms, insulation businesses and stuff like that. I knew I wanted something different and better and I knew it was going to be hard to get a job in this industry without some sort of training. So, I signed up.”

The 19-year old Storey was one of more than a dozen members of the school’s inaugural class. After 11 weeks of intensive training, he graduated and earned a handful of life-changing certificates and credentials. More importantly, he found a good-paying job.

“While I was in the program, I started applying to jobs and I got an offer to work with Southside Virginia Electric Cooperative which was my number one choice. We graduated on a Thursday and I started work the next Monday.”

Even though he’s still training, Storey says he’s looking forward to his first real climb up a utility pole. And, he’s unafraid.

“Just about every other outdoor job, you don’t have to work because you’re staying home with your family. But, linemen are out there, putting your power back on, no matter what the weather conditions are.”

Being gainfully employed and doing what he likes, Storey says, has also done wonders for his self-esteem.

“It makes me feel better knowing that my paychecks are coming in and that I’m paying a lot of my bills on my own and not having to rely on my parents because I know it’s hard enough for them having to pay for themselves let alone me and my sister.”

To find out more about this and other short-term training opportunities, visit our Workforce Credential Grant Program page.'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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