May 12, 2023 - News

Ta'Jahnae Buchanan is blazing trails at Cleveland Public Power

A helmeted Ta'Jahne Buchanan poses before a Cleveland Public Power truck on a brick street.

Ta'Jahnae Buchanan on the job. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Ta'Jahnae Buchanan was among a small Cleveland Public Power crew changing out a busted utility pole at East 198th and Shawnee, near the Cleveland-Euclid border.

Why it matters: Buchanan was the only woman on the job. She always is.

  • She's the first woman to complete CPP's line worker apprenticeship program for CMSD graduates and is the only woman on staff with journeyman status as a line worker, a position with a starting hourly pay of $42.

Driving the news: Mayor Justin Bibb mentioned Buchanan by name at last month's State of the City address.

  • "I told her, 'You can be the first, but you can't be the last,'" Bibb said.

Flashback: Buchanan graduated from CMSD's Jane Addams High School and immediately began her CPP career journey.

Details: Shelley Shockley, CPP's marketing manager, tells Axios that more than 100 CMSD graduates have passed through the program since it launched in 2008.

  • Students complete a three-week "climbing school," CDL training, classroom instruction and a four-year apprenticeship alongside CPP veterans.
  • Of note: Buchanan took extra time to complete her apprenticeship because she has a child.

What they're saying: During a break in the work, Buchanan told Axios that installing and repairing power lines can be dangerous work but that she loves it, even when she's called in for mandatory overtime during weekend storms.

  • Buchanan said she had no idea Bibb would mention her in his annual speech but that the mayor could take heart: Another young woman is beginning her apprenticeship now.
  • "She'll be the second," Buchanan said.

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