Western Nebraska Community College student Wyatt Hotz is a recipient of the 2023 mikeroweWORKS foundation work ethic scholarship. Hotz was one of 200 recipients from across the country.
Hotz, who is enrolled in WNCC’s Powerline Construction & Maintenance program in Alliance, said he first heard about the scholarship because his cousin had applied and received the scholarship the year before. A native of Eatonville, Washington, he grew up with family friends in the powerline trade and wanted to pursue a career where he was able to work with his hands, outside, and earn a decent wage.
“I was really happy when I received the scholarship,” Hotz said. “I want a career where I can be outside and work with my hands and this scholarship is helping pay for my tuition.”
Founded by the host of the TV series “Dirty Jobs” Mike Rowe, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s mission is to to help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs, encouraging people to pursue skilled-labor careers, and proving that careers in the trades are viable. Since its inception, the foundation has granted, or helped facilitate the granting of, more than $5 million in Work Ethic scholarships and other like-minded programs or initiatives that also work to close the skills gap.
During his time in the Powerline program at WNCC, Hotz has enjoyed building relationships with his classmates.
“I like the aspect that our class has gotten close and built a sort of brotherhood with each other,” he said.
Hotz is on track to complete the Powerline program this May. WNCC’s Powerline program is a three-semester program, with cohorts starting in the summer semester, and graduating the following spring. WNCC offers three award types with the program, a Powerline diploma, a Powerline Certificate, or the most advanced – an Associate of Applied Science degree that includes an additional 15 credit hours of general studies courses.
But for Hotz and many of the Powerline students, the program prepares them for the job after school, because they spend more time on the job than in a classroom.
“I would recommend the program to other people as long as they are willing to work hard and learn,” Hotz said. “The program isn’t like a normal school, it is like a job. You show up on time and work hard to finish the tasks at hand.”
Anyone interested in a career in the Powerline Construction & Maintenance trade is encouraged to contact Shane Homan, Powerline instructor at 308.635.6130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.