Participants in Northampton Community College’s (NCC) unique lineworker training program are getting a leg up in preparing for a career in the utility sector thanks to a digger derrick truck donation from PPL Electric Utilities. The truck will allow NCC students in the program to gain experience digging holes for and setting utility poles.

The years-long partnership PPL Electric Utilities has shared with the college and its lineworker training program has translated into dozens of new lineworkers safely keeping the lights on for customers. 

In addition to helping build and kickstart the training course at the Bethlehem college in 2011 the utility has provided wooden poles, vehicles and equipment so that students get the hands-on experience they need. Even the program’s six instructors are current or former PPL Electric Utilities lineworkers. 

And when a recent need for a program upgrade emerged, PPL Electric Utilities stepped up again, this time by providing one of its digger derrick trucks.

Digger Derrick Truck, Photo Credit: PPL

John Conaboy, transportation manager at PPL Electric Utilities, and Scott Black, a journeyman mechanic, recently delivered the vehicle to the class, which is learning its training in an outdoor area on the college’s sprawling campus.  

“We’re always here to help Northampton Community College in any way we can,” Conaboy said. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to donate the truck.”  

College officials said they were grateful for the donation and the relationship that has been built over the years. 

“It’s a high priority occupation and PPL Electric Utilities has been a fabulous partner,” said Lauren A. Loeffler, NCC’s vice president of Workforce Development/Community Education. “And safety is a key focus of the program.” 

The current group of 15 students in the program will join more than 250 others, mainly from eastern and central Pennsylvania, who have completed the program and become line workers for power companies, cable companies and other utilities. 

In addition to the hands-on skills training, they also receive training in employability skills, interviewing skills and resume writing. NCC students who participate in the lineworker program are looking to join an industry that has been suffering a lineworker shortage in recent years. 

Once they complete the 12-week pre-apprenticeship program at NCC, students will be in a position to become trainees in the PPL Electric Utilities apprenticeship program. Those interested in the NCC lineworker training program should call 610.861.5577 or email