MCTC coed climbs through ‘glass ceiling’ as first female lineworker | MCTC

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MCTC coed climbs through ‘glass ceiling’ as first female lineworker

December 1, 2021
by Keith Kappes

Elaina holding ropeElaina Little of Mt. Sterling enrolled at Maysville Community and Technical College to prepare for a good career, not necessarily to establish any records, but she emerged last month as the first female to complete MCTC’s physically-demanding lineworker program.

‘I have never paid much attention to what some people say can’t be accomplished by a woman,” she recalls. “I was focused on getting a well-paying career field that would give me job mobility.”

Not only did she shatter the myth of a glass ceiling keeping women from this traditionally men-only job opportunity, but she also disproved the notion that few, if any, females have the upper body strength to climb utility poles while carrying heavy loads.

An enlisted member of the U. S. Army Reserve, Elaina had to overcome physical strength challenges in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and in advanced training at Fort Lee, Va. 

Even in the military, she defied the odds by developing another job skill usually reserved for men – wheeled vehicle mechanic.

“My Army experience was very helpful in the lineworker program because I already had completed hands-on technical training,” Elaina said. “But I did have to learn how to work while hanging 20 to 30 feet in the air in all kinds of weather.”

Elaina sound testing electrical poleShe describes her MCTC training as “mentally and physically challenging” but, at the same time, “exciting” and “personally satisfying.”  She is especially proud of earning a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) during the course, along with other work-related certifications.    

At one point before enrolling, Elaina wasn’t sure she understood the duties and responsibilities of being a lineworker. So, she watched a few hours of YouTube videos on the subject and then accepted the challenge.

Elaina with family friends“My instructors were outstanding, and they motivated all of us to do our best to work correctly and safely in a dangerous occupation that badly needs more workers,” Elaina added.

She and 21 men comprised MCTC’s largest lineworker class since the program started seven years ago.

Elaina is a 2019 graduate of Montgomery County High School. She is the daughter of Randall Little and Penny Hall.

For information on becoming a lineworker or qualifying at MCTC for a different high-paying job, visit maysville.kctcs.edu.