Line of Duty

Posted on Aug 05 2021 in Noble REMC

When most people graduate after four years of schooling, there’s a large ceremony with family and friends and time spent looking back on their achievements.

But after four years, including 612 hours of classroom instruction and more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job-training as an apprentice lineman, Cody Kirkpatrick is only looking forward in his new role as journeyman lineman.

“I don’t feel any different,” Kirkpatrick said with a smile. “I have more responsibilities, but that’s about it.”

Kirkpatrick started his Noble REMC career nine years ago as a tree trimmer on the right-of-way crew, but once he saw the challenge of doing something new each day on the line side, he started on a new track.

He enrolled in Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ Rural Electric Apprenticeship Program (REAP), where he spent four years training and learning how to become a lineman. This included everything from hands-on learning, such as climbing school and tool and equipment instruction — his favorite part — to classroom work. 

The hardest part? 

To complete his training and earn his journeyman designation, he had to pass a comprehensive exam at the end of his four years that took everything from REAP and put it on paper. After about four hours, he felt confident in his results, but he wouldn’t know for sure until the next day.

When the time came to announce the results, his instructors put a piece of paper facedown in front of the apprentices. Then he flipped it over.

“I just had a giant smile and was relieved,” Kirkpatrick said of earning his journeyman title.

Through the program, he also earned an associate of applied science in apprenticeship technology – electric line technician degree from Ivy Tech Community College.

Kirkpatrick, as a journeyman, will now be a leader on his crew. Rather than looking to someone else for answers on the job site, he’ll be the one to help teach the next classes of apprentices.

He looks forward to teaching them all the tricks and tools of the trade that he’s learned along the way, ensuring they have just as good an opportunity to succeed, if not better.

REAP Graphic