Life after graduation can feel vast and a little shapeless to a high school senior. Most look forward to finally escaping all the “paperwork” and taking a moment to relax or mull over options. Like his peers, Terron Smotherman (pictured above right with Steve Parks, DAP’s Director of Programs) anticipated more free time after May of 2018—jogging, reading comics, and laughing with friends. However, he also had his mind made up to become a powerline worker.
Terron has a clear image of what his dream entails. While a student at Jennings High School, he attended Diversity Awareness Partnership’s career-immersion program, EXPLORE, in which host businesses invite students to experience the many roles that keep the company running. The 2-3 sessions take place on-site and may involve tours, presentations, hands-on activities, small group discussions, job shadowing, and time to simply eat together and ask questions.
Ameren is one such company, hoping to foster a more diverse workforce and recruit ambitious young people like Terron. He looks forward to having “a house, good neighborhood, hopefully a family” and above all else wants to help others. Through the EXPLORE Energy program, he learned that the crucial task of fixing power lines is far from simple. And in exchange for their expertise, lineworkers enjoy the gratitude of customers, close bonds with coworkers, and the satisfaction of getting that power back on.
Terron has always resolved to pursue his most people-oriented self and “keep pushing forward,” despite some difficult, solitary stretches growing up. The next steps that Terron hopes to take may include college and an apprenticeship with Ameren. When he thinks of a career, he thinks of success and happiness. In fact, he said that if he were to hire someone, he’d look for “a kind of passion…that light in their eyes…that they are into it for the experience.” The light in Terron’s own eyes shines clear and confident.