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Line Worker Rodeo and Career Expo highlight jobs in the trades

By Nancy Sweet, dean, Workforce Institute, Lincoln Land Community College
Nancy Sweet

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Lincoln Land Community College’s Workforce Institute will host its first Career Expo in conjunction with the Association of Illinois Electrical Cooperatives’ (AIEC) long-running Line Worker’s Safety Rodeo. LLCC partners with AIEC to train future electrical line workers, and LLCC has hosted this rodeo in our training yard for the last 26 years. The day-long competition draws the best line workers from around the state to participate in events such as the Hurt Man Rescue and the 40 Foot Climb.

Current LLCC Workforce Institute line worker students assist at the event, making sure the day runs smoothly, helping to set up and break down tools and equipment and tending to competitor and sponsor needs. Starting just last year, LLCC line worker students were able to compete as amateurs in the competition. It’s an amazing day celebrating the important work of line workers as well as providing an opportunity for students to network with future employers.

This year, the event is expanding with the addition of the Workforce Institute Career Expo. This large, outdoor event will provide an opportunity for both current and future students to network with area employers to learn more about careers in the trades. The event will welcome over 500 area high school students to engage with local employers, see the Line Worker Rodeo and learn about training programs at the Workforce Institute that lead to high-wage, high-demand careers. Students at the Expo can also meet Workforce Institute faculty and directors, and learn about the next steps to apply for admission and assistance in paying for school.

Over 50 local employers will be attendance, many bringing large pieces of equipment or simulators to better showcase their line of work and help students understand what a typical day of work is like. Areas of industry and training to be showcased in the Expo include automotive technology, aviation maintenance, welding, HVACR, electrical maintenance, construction, manufacturing and diesel technologies.

Current Workforce Institute students will assist at the event, acting as ambassadors of their programs. Their day will include not only networking with employers to discuss job opportunities, but also helping employers set up and break down their expo areas as well as talking with the visiting high school students about what they can expect when training at LLCC.

In the weeks leading up the Expo, these student ambassadors will spend time in class learning more about these important soft skills to be more confident in their ability to network with employers. These lessons include how to create a brief elevator speech about themselves combined with a proper handshake (or fist-bump in this day), asking solid follow up-questions and making good eye contact. These encounters can often leave a big impression on employers and even lead to part-time and full-time work.

Employers, interested in learning more about how to participate in upcoming events at the Workforce Institute? Future students, want to know the next steps to get started at the Workforce Institute? Contact Nancy Sweet, dean, LLCC Workforce Institute, at 217-786-4613 or