Five Gastonia Electric linemen reach Journeyman status

Five men holding framed certificates
Pictured, left to right:
Andy Mabry, Ray Miller, Andy Richardson, Sam Ackerman, Caleb Arrant

Five Gastonia Electric employees recently completed the rigorous requirements to be certified as journeymen linemen.

Sam Ackerman, Caleb Arrant, Andy Mabry, Ray Miller and Andy Richardson received their certifications after completing an apprenticeship program with ElectriCities of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College system.

Journeymen linemen build and maintain high-voltage electrical power systems. They work on the entire system, from the point of generation in power plants to the customer’s meter. The power lines they work on may be on overhead structures, towers, poles or in underground vaults or trenches.

The term “journeyman” dates back to the Middle Ages, when guidelines were put in place to provide specialized training for apprentices.

The City of Gastonia’s Lineman Career Development program consists of four levels, with journeyman being the highest. Each level requires coursework, on-the-job training, work experience and passing tests. Electric linemen must put in a total of 8,000 hours with eight years of work experience to reach journeyman status.

After meeting all of the requirements, the five employees were awarded certificates by the U.S. Department of Labor, the North Carolina Department of Labor and ElectriCities of North Carolina.

Gastonia Electric’s safety and training coordinator, Sam Welch, says Journeyman certification means an employee is recognized throughout the United States as having a high level of work experience and knowledge. “This means that our linemen are highly trained and qualified when doing their day-to-day work, storm-related repairs and assisting in mutual aid efforts,” Welch said.

The five join 19 other Gastonia Electric employees who already have their journeyman lineman status. Eight other utility employees are currently enrolled in the City’s Lineman Career Development Program.