Vocational Training as a Path to Careers in Underground Utility Locating

USIC IS NORTH AMERICA’S largest provider of underground utility locating services with a team of more than 11,000 locate technicians performing over 80 million locates each year to protect infrastructure and communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

This growing company is exploring a new path for recruiting qualified candidates for the utility locating profession by providing vocational underground utility locating training to high school seniors in partnership with the Hinds Career Center, located in Elwood, Indiana. Elwood is about 50 miles north of USIC’s Indianapolis headquarters, and serves seven school districts.

The course, taught by USIC Vocational Education Coordinator Darrin Haynes, incorporates classroom and field instruction. Two classes meet daily in a Hinds Career Center classroom which USIC has renovated and equipped with training materials, including state-of-the-art virtual reality technology simulating real-world locating. The program has the capacity to train and certify up to 40 students each year for careers as locate technicians with USIC or within the industry. USIC will pay students’ relocation costs to any of the 48 states in which it operates.

“USIC is proud to partner with the Hinds Career Center to provide vocational training which makes students eligible to be hired as a locate technician immediately following high school graduation. This program is their first step toward a long-term career which offers competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and significant potential for career advancement,” USIC President and CEO Mike Ryan stated. “The damage prevention industry offers tremendous career potential and the ability to make a difference every day by protecting critical infrastructure and keeping your community safe. We are actively exploring partnerships with other vocational education institutions throughout our operating network. It’s a win-win situation, with the program providing a steady stream of fully trained, certified locate technicians ready to begin a career.”

“Most of our students seem to recognize very quickly that utility locating is a profession that will keep them challenged while not being so complex that it is out of their reach,” Haynes added.

Students have expressed excitement about the program and the opportunity to become a professional locate technician:

• “I’m starting to really get into it and think it is something I would like to be doing – being outside and not stuck in an office.”

• “I know that this is a job that is always going to be here, unlike some vocations where jobs are being replaced by robotics and automation.”

• “I like that utility locating offers more opportunities and has more of a career style than other jobs.”

• “This has been way better than I expected. We have already had a lot of opportunity to be hands on.”

• “It’s not as intimidating as I thought it would be. The instructor is hands-on and very helpful.”

• “It’s challenging – not too challenging and not overly easy. I like to have some adversity to work through.”

To learn more about USIC’s vocational underground utility locating training program, contact Darrin Haynes at darrinhaynes@usicllc.com

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