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veteran women in linework: tara buckley

Tara Buckley is no stranger to “Putting it All on the Line™” for her community. Before beginning her training in our 15-week Electrical Lineworker Program, she served two tours in the United States Air Force as a firefighter traveling across the globe to help people. But when she was struck by a drunk driver causing a serious frontal lobe injury, she was left looking for something different. 

“From that point, my life changed. My career in the military was going to end”. 

The injuries she incurred resulted in 10 years of rehabilitation before she decided it was time to go out and try something new. Tara’s crew at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Chicago encouraged her to venture out and see what new opportunities awaited.

Her courageous venture led her to earning her CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) which would open more doors for Tara than she could ever imagine. After spending five years at Schneider National, a provider of truckload, intermodal, and logistic services, serving as a both a driver and intermodal road instructor, her brain had healed enough to where she was ready for a new adventure. 

After hearing about the lineman trade through a gentleman at Schneider, Tara began researching lineman training centers and discovered SLTC. “I did a lot of research and SLTC came up as the most woman-friendly and coolest school in the nation”. Because of her military service, Tara was eligible to use her Post-9/11 GI Bill to cover the entirety of her tuition, housing and books/supplies for her lineworker training at SLTC.

Finding a school that was supportive and encouraging of female lineworkers was important to Tara. Females make up less than 15% of the total number of electric utility workers, but being a minority in her trade wasn’t a new experience for her.1

“Being a female in the lineman industry is not unfamiliar to me, meaning I have always been one of the only females in all the industries I have been in”. Between firefighting and being a CDL driver, Tara already knew what it was like being a female in a male dominated industry. But, she quickly learned that at SLTC, being a female meant she was going to be pushed as hard, if not harder, than the guys in her pole circle. 

Tara was one of two girls in a near twenty person PC (pole circle), led by Josh Hansard, the instructor for the Regulators for Class 63 in our Electrical Lineworker Program. 

The long days and the gruelling physical nature of this trade can be too much for some, but those with the right attitude and work ethic can reach the end. Hansard said those who do finish and graduate from our program have “a willingness to progress and to improve, but mostly they just want it”. 

And Tara Buckley wanted it. 

“She had the right attitude, and she had a real passion to learn the trade,” said Hansard.

Tara, a now graduate of Southeast Lineman Training Center’s 15-week Electrical Lineworker Program, has joined a workforce of thousands of other dedicated and passionate apprentice and journeyman linemen who are equipped and ready to serve communities across the globe.

Here at Southeast Lineman Training Center, these are the kind of people we look for to join the electrical utility and communications industries. Whether you choose our 15-week Electrical Lineworker Program or our 7-week Communications Lineworker Program, bring with you the right attitude and passion to learn the trade and we’ll teach you the necessary skills to succeed.

Do you want to know more about strong women like you? Visit our Girl Power page to learn more.


Interested in becoming a lineman?

Southeast Lineman Training center exists to provide training in a realistic and challenging environment, where individuals can establish the foundation necessary to succeed as lineworkers in the electrical utility and communications industries. We do this by instilling into each student our three core educational values: knowledge, discipline, and ability.

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