Crisp County Power Commission donates truck to South Georgia Tech Foundation for Electrical Lineworker Program

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Crisp County Power Commission donated a 2000 GMC 8500 Digger Derrick truck to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation recently to be used in the college’s Electrical Lineworker program. Shown above (l to r) in front of the truck are: SGTC Electrical Lineworker Instructor Dewey Turner, Crisp County Power Commission Mechanic Trey McBryant, SGTC Instructor Harold Ergle, Crisp County Power’s Manager of Operations Blake Manning, Director of HR Ladreka Daniels, and Chairman Ray Hughes with SGTC President Dr. John Watford and SGTC Economic Development Business and Industry Director Paul Farr. Members of the 2022 Electrical Lineworker program are also shown on the truck.

Crisp County Power Commission officials presented the South Georgia Technical College Foundation with a 2000 GMC 8500 Digger Derrick truck to assist with training the next generation of electrical lineworkers enrolled in the college’s Electrical Lineworker Program.

     “We appreciate the partnership we have with the Crisp County Power Commission and their willingness to provide equipment such as this Digger Derrick truck to provide training for our Electrical Lineworker students,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “This program has continued to grow and right now, there is a need in the industry and in our area for electrical lineworkers. This vehicle will allow students to train on equipment that they will see once they enter the workforce.  This is a win-win situation for the students, for South Georgia Technical College and for those who hire the graduates of this program. Partnerships like this and others are crucial to our success.  The Crisp County Power Commission is truly impacting student success at South Georgia Technical College.”

   The Crisp County Power Commission is one of more than 2,200 public power systems in the United States providing dependable and economic power to the citizens in their communities.  Crisp County Power Commission serves Crisp County including the municipalities of Cordele and Arabi.  They also own and operate Lake Blackshear, an 8,700 acre reservoir stretching 20 miles long on the Flint River which provide hydroelectric power to their customers.  Their service area covers approximately 330 square miles with an estimated population of 23,000.

   Ray Hughes, Chairman of the Crisp County Power Commission, echoed Dr. Watford’s sentiments about the partnership.  “The Crisp County Power Commission is proud to partner with South Georgia Technical College by providing this piece of equipment to assist in training our next generation of lineworkers.  The training and education that they receive will not just prepare them for a job, but a career in the utility industry and other high demand skilled labor careers throughout the state.”

    South Georgia Technical College created the Electrical Lineworker Apprenticeship Course in 2005 in partnership with several power companies as a direct response to regional utility company workforce demands.  Over 700 individuals have graduated and been placed in the industry since the program began.

   There is still a shortage of trained lineworkers in the electrical industry and the SGTC Electrical Lineworker Apprentice Certificate Training Program is helping the industry keep up with the demand for new workers.  Successful graduates have the entry level skills the regional power utility companies are seeking.  Training includes proper use of lineworker tools, lineworker simulation, power industrial truck operation and electrical safety.  There are physical requirements and lineworker students also complete observation-based training in an industry setting.

    South Georgia Technical College has been able to offer the eight-week electrical lineworker training almost tuition free to HOPE eligible students.  The support of business and industry has also helped with scholarships and training equipment that duplicates the equipment used on the job.

    Admission requirements for the eight-week program include:  18 years of age, a high school diploma or GED, and a valid driver’s license as well as the enrollment requirements of South Georgia Technical College.  To learn more about enrolling in the Electrical Lineworker Program contact Tami Blount at 229-931-2040 or tblount@southgatech.edu.

   For more information about donating to South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation, contact SGTC Foundation Executive Director Su Ann Bird at 229-931-2110 or sbird@southgatech.edu.

    South Georgia Technical College offers over 200 associate degree, diploma, or technical certificate of credit classes.  The college has a 99% job placement rating for graduates and offers lifetime career placement services.  Financial aid is available for qualified students.  For more information about applying to South Georgia Technical College, visit www.southgatech.edu or contact the admissions office at 229-931-2394 in Americus or 229-271-4040 in Cordele.  Summer semester will begin May 25th and it is not too late to apply!

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.