WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – Burke County Schools, Jefferson Energy Cooperative, and Planters EMC teamed up to provide higher learning to students.

Burke County High School’s technology instructor, Mark Flowers, orchestrated a pole climbing station for his students.

The learning module creates a safe way for students to learn about careers in electrical engineering and linemen training.

“Behind you, you will see the climbing poles, and in partnership with Jefferson Electric and Planters EMC, to build this outdoor training facility for our students to have first time access and first class access to this rewarding industry,” said CTAE Director, Sean Middleton.

“Eventually there will be wires running across the poles, as well: non-energized. That means there’s no electricity running to them. So, the students can actually practice and see what it’s like in the energy and utility field,” said Flowers.

Flowers thinks it’s important for students to learn these kind of skills.

“You gotta have hands on skills. If everything you do is just in a classroom and do a worksheet and look at something, you got to have tangible things and look at it and touch it and use it,” said Flowers.

“We want our students to have that opportunity to fill those needs for our community and we want to have that homegrown talent here. So, we’re trying to invest in our students in our schools here right now with collaboration with businesses. So, it’s essential and appreciated,” said Middleton.

The class itself will feature three levels going from introduction to safety, ending with students working with their hands on the equipment.

Linemen were on hand to show how the job gets done and students had a great time seeing what their future lab would be like.

“I think they were a little nervous at first, but when they saw the linemen get up and climb themselves, they got kind of excited about it, too. So, they’re excited about it. Kids want to dive into it right now. We have some safety things they have to learn first before you can come up here to the trained facility, but they’re excited about it and we’re ecstatic for them,” said Middleton.

The climbing lab at Burke County High School will give students more options for the future.

“This is a rewarding field with Plant Vogtle just down the road and with Jefferson and Planters EMC and Georgia Power, it’s a rewarding field. I hope it builds interest and gets people to want to dive head first into this field,” said Middleton.

“It’s an income changing type of degree, in our area of field, and that’s what I want them to understand, is they can actually change their lives by a job such as this,” said Flowers.