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Students Experience “A Day in the Life at an Electric Cooperative”






CHASE CITY -- Students at Bluestone Middle School (BMS) were among the first to have the opportunity to visit Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s (MEC) facilities in Chase City for “A Day in the Life at an Electric Cooperative.” The seventh-graders spent three hours touring the Cooperative’s facilities and learning the many essential positions, equipment needs, and safety and business practices that keep the organization running safely and smoothly.


The day began with a welcome from John C. Lee, Jr., president and CEO, who discussed the importance of education and thanked the teachers for their relentless efforts in successfully educating and preparing our youth for the future. MEC employees from the fleet maintenance department and the materials warehouse escorted the students around their workstations, demonstrating on-the-job work scenarios and discussing the skill set and educational needs for their positions. Students also visited with a lineman who discussed his duties, the personal protective equipment required on the job and the available programs for those interested in line work. During their visit, students tried their hand at using some of the lineman’s specialized equipment.


During Bluestone Middle School’s “A Day in the Life at an Electric Cooperative” visit to
Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Lineman/Serviceman Joe Hostetter explains his duties,
 the personal protective equipment required on his job and programs available to
those interested in line work.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s Fleet Mechanic Technician R. G. Owen shares with a
group of Bluestone Middle School students some of the multi-faceted operations that
MEC mechanics are skilled to handle in-house. Over 100 seventh-graders participated in
“A Day in the Life at an Electric Cooperative” presentation.

Leilani Todd, vice president of human resources at MEC, states, “Building awareness about our energy industry involves more than just job fairs for high school seniors. To meet the challenge, students must have an interest in energy and meet the qualifications to enter programs desired by the industry’s employers. Students must be prepared to enroll in and complete the most appropriate educational programs; and they must be prepared to enter energy jobs as competitive, viable job applicants when and where the need arises. For this reason, we need to begin building awareness at an early age.”


Nationally, in the next five years, an estimated 36% of the skilled work force may need to be replaced due to retirement or attrition. By 2025, the percentage grows to almost 50%.  Replacement of workers is less likely to occur in waves and more likely to occur in clusters. “A Day in the Life at an Electric Cooperative” is just one phase of the program at MEC to get young students and guidance counselors educated and interested in exploring the various careers available at an electric cooperative, as well as the skill set applicants need. It is important that individuals learn early in their educational career about the energy industry so they can take appropriate classes to prepare themselves to be successful even if they choose not to go to a four-year college. 


Most importantly, during their visit the BMS students received a wealth of knowledge on electrical safety, which is MEC’s first priority. In addition to learning about how MEC employees work safely on the job, Ron Campbell, safety coordinator at MEC, showed the students how to practice electrical safety at home. “As with career readiness, safety should also be taught at a young age, especially electrical safety. If we instill the importance of safety into our youth at an early age, then they are likely to continue safe practices as adults as well,” says Ron.


The Cooperative is preparing to present this innovative program to additional middle school students in its service area in the future.


Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is the not-for-profit energy provider to over 31,000 meters located in portions of the Virginia counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex and the North Carolina counties of Granville, Person, Northampton, Vance and Warren. It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Gretna, Emporia, and Chase City. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information, visit www.meckelec.org.

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer

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