Knox Countian Dustin Yother has only ever wanted to be a lineman—it’s in his blood.
“My dad and two uncles were linemen, so that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Yother says as he sits in the conference room of the KCEOC Kentucky Career Center JobSight in Barbourville, Ky.
Yother’s interest in lineman work intensified during high school when his class toured the Somerset Community College (SCC) campus and saw the lineman and fiber optics program there in action. It was during that fateful trip that Yother and his class first learned about KCEOC.
A partner in the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, KCEOC provides Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) services in Knox County, under contract with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP). Those services include programs for adults, dislocated workers, and for in-school and out-of-school youth who may need assistance honing skills such as résumé building or networking with local employers, or who need assistance being retrained or going to school.
With that planted firmly in the back of his mind, Yother continued working through high school. In 2015, the beginning of his senior year, he picked up a part-time position with the Barbourville Utilities company.
Unfortunately, the position was not what Yother had expected.
“At the time, they didn’t have any positions to get hired in on (full-time), so I knew I’d have to move on and try to find something I wanted to do,” Yother says, explaining that since he was only working part-time, he could only work for six months at a time before being laid off.
After being laid off a second time, Yother found himself unemployed and out of school with no real plan to get him where he wanted to be professionally. That’s when the memory or his field trip to SCC and learning about KCEOC flooded his mind.
Yother called and made an appointment to meet with expert career advisor Jacqueline Pillay in early 2016 to see if KCEOC could assist him in getting into the lineman program at SCC.
“She was super, super good to talk to,” Yother says, a smile spreading across his face. “It took a little process, of course.”
Once Pillay had all of Yother’s information, she helped him determine that he was eligible for assistance for the lineman program—and Yother was thrilled.
Yother says he was able to get assistance not only with paying for the cost of the eight-week course, but also for any equipment he needed, his lineman boots, and even for housing.
“Me and two of my other buddies, we all went through the KCEOC program, and we got a room together,” he explains. “It’s a four-day-a-week, eight-week program, and we stayed up there in London, Ky., and it made it a whole lot easier on us.”
Once he graduated, Yother wanted to return to Barbourville Utilities as a lineman, however, with no positions open, he accepted a job with Pike Electric in Indiana.
“I started working right after I got out of lineman school at Pike Electric, and I worked up there for about three months. Then Barbourville Utilities got a hold of me and told me they had a position open,” Yother says.
Yother says that position was not a lineman position, but he knew he could get his foot in the door—and he was right. After eight months of working with cable internet, a lineman position became available in his company and he jumped at the chance to get it.
The lineman program and working as a lineman is everything Yother had hoped it would be, and he says that while he was determined to find a way to become a lineman, it was definitely an easier and smoother process with KCEOC’s support.
“I got blessed by coming up here and getting the help from KCEOC,” he says. “I would definitely recommend it 100 percent.”
“I couldn’t explain how much they’ve really helped because I’m home every night, I’m working, making good money, just got married, and am building a house,” he adds. “It’s working out perfect!”
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.