More than 50 Midlands high school students from got an up-close look recently at potential energy industry careers which do not require a four-year degree.
Dominion Energy hosted the students as part of the company’s Skilled Trade Day at its Lake Murray Training Center in Lexington. The 37-acre complex near the Lake Murray Dam is where Dominion Energy South Carolina trains its apprentice linemen and electricians.
Dominion Energy employees instructed the students in four different stations, each representing a separate job sector – power delivery, electric distribution, power generation and natural gas. Students rotated stations and learned about topics ranging from how electricity is generated to the typical day for an electric line worker or gas journeyman. The activities were designed to give attendees a real-life look at the career opportunities available at Dominion Energy in skilled craft and trade positions.
“There are good jobs out there that you can go into now,” Dominion Energy South Carolina President Keller Kissam told the students. “These are jobs where you can make an outstanding paycheck and they don’t require college debt from a two-year or four-year degree.”
The students hailed from school districts across the Midlands, which have large minority populations, including Fairfield, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Also in attendance was Spring Valley High School principal Jeff Temoney.
“Nearly 450 students graduate from Spring Valley High School each year prepared for the workforce, the military, or college,” Temoney said. “I made it a priority to participate in career day in an effort to establish a school-to-work pipeline for our students. Dominion Energy is looking to hire linemen, electricians, technicians, and heavy equipment operators, and I know I have students who are ready to work.”
In its first external Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report released last year, Dominion Energy found an increase in diverse hiring from 28 percent in 2013 to nearly 50 percent in 2020. The company has set goals to increase diverse representation among its workforce.
“As we work to provide safe, reliable power to our customers, we’re also working to attract, develop and retain the best talent,” Kissam said. “That requires a focus on diverse recruitment to ensure our talented workforce looks more like the communities we serve.”
Dominion Energy employs about 3,700 people in South Carolina. The workforce includes skilled technical positions in electric operations, plant operators in power generation, foresters, environmental science technicians, customer service representatives and more.