Many T&D PowerSkills Clients are interested in providing a Certification to their employees who successfully complete an in-house training program. Programs offering Certifications are often seen as more valuable to employees than Programs without them. There is a lot of confusion in the Industry as to what constitutes a ‘Certified Training Program’ and what that exactly entails. Hopefully, this Q&A will help clarify your options.

Question: Are the T&D PowerSkills materials Certified?
Answer: No. Training ‘Programs’ are Certified, not the material, itself. The T&D PowerSkills material is intended to be used as a foundation for Training Programs – the ‘Program’ itself must be established by each Company and includes much more than just training material.
Question: Does T&D PowerSkills sell training ‘programs’?
Answer: No. However, we can recommend an organization that has helped utilities and contractors develop in-house lineworker training programs that have gone on to be accepted by Certifying Authorities, and thus become Certified Programs. The Institute for Safety in Powerline Construction (ISPC) is a ‘sister’ organization to T&D PowerSkills and can be found at: www.ispconline.com. E-mail: mack@ispconline.com.
Question: What do you mean by ‘Certifying Authority’?
Answer: A ‘Certifying Authority’ is any organization that is qualified to Certify training programs and individuals. Your Company can be a Certifying Authority, The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training is a Certifying Authority, the American Red Cross is a Certifying Authority, some state Department of Labor Agencies are Certifying Authorities, etc. It can go on and on.
Question: My Company can be a ‘Certifying Authority’?
Answer: Yes. OSHA says that a Company can certify the training received by employees from an in-house training program and issue a Certificate accordingly. OSHA is okay with the Company deciding what training each employee needs.
Question: Will my Company be recognized as a ‘Certifying Authority’?
Answer: Probably not. And your employees (or other companies) probably won’t see a lot of value in just a Company Certificate of Training. Since the quality of the Program hasn’t been reviewed by a respected, independent training group, it’s difficult to place a lot of value on the training received by the employees and so the Company Certificates don’t mean much.
Question: How can I improve the value my employees receive in the Certification provided for our lineworker training program?
Answer: We see two primary options for wider recognition of a Certified Lineworker Program:
  1. Apply to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (DOL State) or to the equivalent State Agency (SAC State) for Program Certification.
  2. Contract with ISPC to Certify your Lineworker Program.

The advantages and disadvantage of each option are shown below:

   Advantages of a U.S. DOL Certification

  1. Widely recognized as a Certifying Authority
  2. Record keeping standardized and maintained by the U.S. Dept. of Labor
  3. Program parameters standardized to the U.S. DOL expectations
  4. Reporting requirements standardized to the U.S. DOL requirements
  5. U.S. Government Certificate upon completion

Disadvantages of a U.S. DOL Certification

  1. Submittal of complex application ‘Standards’ required
  2. Somewhat inflexible with requirements for Program features
  3. Cumbersome process for enrolling employees and removing them from Program – appeals process for employees
  4. No on-line record keeping options
  5. Includes scheduled wage rates and programmed stepped raises based on where employees are in the Program and how they advance
  6. Must demonstrate that Company has attempted to recruit females and minorities into the Program

Advantages of ISPC Certification

  1. Recognized as an independent authority
  2. Record keeping may be customized to Company needs – on-line availability
  3. Program parameters may be customized to Company needs
  4. Reporting requirements may be customized to Company needs
  5. Company decides all matters relating to employee compensation and stepped raises
  6. No specific recruiting requirements
  7. Company decision to enroll or remove employees – not the governments
  8. ISPC Certificate upon completion

Disadvantages of ISPC Certification

  1. Consulting Project Service Agreement, with fees required
  2. Routine program and student progress review required
  3. ISPC SME evaluates graduate candidates prior to award of Journeyman Lineman Certificate
  4. Program may be audited by ISPC Subject Matter Experts and Consultants at ISPC’s discretion

T&D PowerSkills recommends either of these two options in Certifying a Lineworker Training Program. Choose the option that fits your Company’s needs the best.