Amid the growing success of Northampton Community College’s Line Worker program, the college hit a snag: The lone bucket truck used for training was no longer useable.

“The engine had blown,” said Michele Pappalardo, NCC’s associate dean of Workforce Development. “We were renting one temporarily. It’s critical to have this piece of equipment for our training.”

Knowing the significance of the loss and how critical it was to replace it, we decided we couldn’t let the college move forward without one.

So on Oct. 31, we officially handed over one of our trucks, ensuring that aspiring line workers get the training they need to do the best and safest job possible. (Photo by John Kish, courtesy of Northampton Community College.)

It was part of our ongoing support of workforce development initiatives, particularly through the PPL Foundation.

Chris Gonzalez, a Distribution Operations field manager, hatched the idea for the donation after hearing about the college’s misfortune. He was among a group of employees that worked to identify a truck to donate and prepare it for delivery.

Among them: Transportation Supervisor Rich Carrell; Journeyman Mechanic Kevin Berger; Field Supervisor Andy Rhody; Transportation Manager John Adkisson; and Labor and Employee Relations Consultant Sarath Trujillo.

“We’re proud of the partnership we have with NCC and hope this addition to the program will help future line workers learn how to do their jobs safely, effectively and efficiently,” said PPL Regional Affairs Director Carol Obando-Derstine.

NCC President Dr. Mark Erickson accepted the keys to the truck from Obando-Derstine at an event at the college near Bethlehem.

“Companies like PPL help our students increase their skills by allowing them to get hands-on experience,” Erickson said. “Once finished with the program, graduates go out into the community as skilled and valuable workers who contribute greatly to our region’s success.”

We have provided assistance to the college since it began offering the lineworker program in 2011. Our workers helped develop the course curriculum, and we previously provided used utility poles.

To date, the twelve-week program has graduated 115 students. Graduates are in the position to be hired as trainees for electric and cable companies with the ultimate goal of becoming journeymen lineworkers.