• Chris Simpson

Cleveland Community College Electrical Lineworker Academy

Updated: May 9

Cleveland Community College Electrical Lineworker Academy Recognized as Top Performing Training Program.


Humble beginnings are part of a storied past for Cleveland Community College. Today, the Electrical Lineworker Academy at the Community College has followed a similar pattern of building upon its successes.


Through the work of the former Shelby Chamber of Commerce and the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners, the Cleveland Unit of Gaston College (which eventually became Cleveland Community College) was established. The unit, led by Dr. James Broughton Petty, began offering classes in the fall of 1965 in two rented buildings on North Morgan Street. With fewer than a handful of full-time employees and fewer than 40 students, the College began operating a few programs.


Fast forward to today and Cleveland Community College consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of all community colleges in the country. In our review, Lineman Central has recognized Cleveland Community College’s Electrical Lineworker Academy as one of the top power distribution prep programs in the country.


A Strong Lineman Training Program in North Carolina


“The program training is consistently updated by the advisory board of area companies and Duke Energy which ensures the Lineworker Academy is meeting the needs of industry. The program material used is the T&D Power Skills Training modules on the lineman classes as well as supplemental training for Flagger, OSHA, CPR, and CDL Examiners” said Alan Qualls, Program Coordinator for the Electrical Lineworker Academy.


Students enrolled in the academy are expected to treat it like a full-time job and are required to be ready for training every day at 7:30am. Like many programs at Cleveland Community College, the Lineworker Academy emphasizes real-world training from experienced professionals. Each student receives training that the energy sector has approved and is taught by instructors with 30+ years of expertise.


The strong track record of this academy has begun to attract applicants from across the region. Qualls noted how the academy has received students from California, Alaska, Missouri, Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Since the start of the program, 12 academies have been completed and more than 250 students have received a job offers.


“As a Navy Veteran I have always been involved in the electrical field both during service and as a civilian. Ever since we started this program back in July 2017 the amount of support from local companies and contractors has been overwhelming. The lineman industry is a unique group of men and women who work very hard to supply the world with good clean power” said Qualls.





The integration of the private sector industry plays a critical role in keeping the academy on the cutting edge. The program started as a 9-week academy, but leadership recognized the need for an additional week to complete the required instruction. The Community College also changed the requirements to require that each student who enrolled in the academy hold a valid CDL permit before class starts.


Cleveland Community College wants everyone to graduate with a degree, diploma, or certificate; however, that success does not look identical for every student. In 2019, two Puerto Rican natives completed the Electrical Lineworker Academy and were employed immediately upon graduation by ULCS, LLC. They were placed with a Florida contractor because they worked well together and helped supply the company with a diverse crew to address cultural and language barriers. Their experience is just one recent example of how the Cleveland Community College’s Electrical Lineworker Academy is building a strong future for lineman careers across the country.

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