Calhoun Community College Lineworker program will have first female graduate under new initiative

"Just because you're a female, doesn't mean you can't do it," said Massie Calvin. "Once you put your heart into it, you can do it."

Posted: Aug 12, 2021 6:13 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2021 6:28 PM

A groundbreaking initiative was rolled out at Calhoun Community College to get women involved in the college's Lineworker Program.

Some call it a male-dominated field, but Massie Calvin is paving the way for change. 

"Just because you're a female, doesn't mean you can't do it," said Massie Calvin. "Once you put your heart into it, you can do it."

A lineworker is a job that takes grit, motivation, and physical strength. On a typical day of training, lineworkers climb a 40-foot pole, working their way up to climbing an 80-foot pole. 

"Like learning how to maneuver up the poles with materials, handlines, it's been pretty exciting," said Calvin.

Calvin's the first woman to complete the lineworker program under the new 2021 initiative, Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. The grant money was given to the college to recruit females to the program. 

"I'm feeling really accomplished," said Calvin. "I'm hoping this opens up the doors for other ladies that want to try and put their foot in the door."

Calvin said her grandfather worked at Joe Wheeler as a lineworker. She chose this field to follow in his footsteps. 

Now, as a soon-to-be graduate lineworker, she's hoping she made her grandfather and her two young sons proud. 

"They're my number one motivation," said Calvin. "To make sure I get through this and have a good steady career to make sure they have what they need."

The Director of Workforce Solutions at Calhoun Community College said students are taught by retired lineworkers for seven weeks. 

Scott Qwin and Mike Lowery, both mentors and teachers. 

After graduating from the program, they can apply to jobs as a groundworker. 

"For a student who likes adventure and isn't afraid of a little hard work, and doesn't want to be in a classroom, or doesn't want to be inside anymore, this program gives them the chance to use their natural abilities," said Houston Blackwood, Director of Workforce Solutions. 

"I wanted to be a part of something that matters, is what I wanted to do," said Calvin. "I wanted to be that person that made a difference." 

On Friday, Massie Calvin will graduate from the Lineworker Program. 

The class will compete in a Lineworker Rodeo. They'll be judged on their high climbing and technical skills.

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