April 28th, 2023
Katherine Dunn, better known by her friends and family as Katie, was one of two girls who attended Southeast Lineman Training Center in Class 64 of the Electrical Lineworker Program, a 15-week program that teaches the basics of electrical linework through in-class curriculum, hands-on field training, and certifications.
Although we’d like to say she’s always dreamed of being a lineman, that simply isn’t true. Before enrolling at SLTC, Katie was planning to study nursing, but with the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry, she decided to look for another career.
“[Nursing] changed a lot, and I couldn’t see myself doing it long term,” Katie said, “I was looking into other career options and my dad mentioned being a lineworker.”
After talking with her dad, she hadn’t looked into it much, but then, it appeared right in front of her. While taking her nephew home one day, they noticed a crew of linemen out working. Since her nephew loved utility trucks, she stopped and let him watch them work. One of the linemen stopped and allowed Katie’s nephew to look around the truck while another journeyman talked to her about his career.
He said to her, “If you’re looking into this, just do it”. And so, she did. That night, she logged on to her computer, applied to SLTC, and started her journey toward becoming a lineman.
We got the chance to sit down with Katie and speak with her about her experience at Southeast Lineman Training Center, what it’s like being a female in a male dominated field, and what her future looks like.
What was your goal coming into the Electrical Lineworker Program? Did you have a dream job or any idea of what you wanted to do after SLTC?
“I didn’t have any major goals after [SLTC]. It was kind of ‘take it day-by-day’. Week over week, you get a better idea of what it’s like doing the job. You hear stories from the instructors and people who have been in it. I didn’t really have a set plan, but I knew I wanted to be in linework.”
What is it like being one of two girls in Class 64 of the Electrical Lineworker Program?
“Day-to-day, it’s not very different. We still have to do everything that the guys do. We’re still held to the same standards as them, and it’s definitely not a cop out of anything. You don’t get to pull that card and say, ‘well, you guys can do it’. You’re on the same level. We’re held to the same level as everyone else and the instructors treat you that way. We’re just one of the guys when we’re out there working.”
What would you say to other females considering pursuing a career in linework?
“Do it! I don’t regret anything about what I did. Just because you’re a girl shouldn’t change anything for you. You’re still going to have the same opportunities, and probably more, because you’re a girl. You’ll have a lot of opportunities and I’ve always been held on the same level as the guys here. You just have to be ready to do the work and pull your weight and really get out of it what you put into it.”
Today, Katie is back home in Massachusetts working as an apprentice lineman at Eversource MA, New England’s largest energy delivery company. To learn more about women in linework, check out www.lineworker.com/girlpower.
Southeast Lineman Training Center (SLTC) is the premier training school for lineworker training; consistently producing an elite group of highly trained and certified graduates.