Lineworkers Fill Need in Communities

Imagine there is a thunder-storm and the electricity goes off. Who is on the job to fix the problems?

Chances are, some of the workers who fix downed power lines or other electrical emergencies received their training and certificates at Doña Ana Community College (DACC) as part of the Electrical Lineworker Certificate program.

New Mexico electric companies, cooperatives and private firms that perform electrical line work often find it difficult to fill vacancies. DACC has the path that leads to an opportunity for students to step into well paid apprenticeship positions after finishing the short certificate program. DACC’s Electrical Lineworker Program is a three-semester (including summer) pre-apprenticeship certificate program designed to provide students with the technical background and the necessary skills for careers in the installation and maintenance of electrical power cables.

These technicians are trained in electricity and to maintain the power lines and equipment, beginning in the DACC program and continuing in their apprenticeship. Lineworkers must be physically fit and able to work on all types of lines. To do this safely they are trained in different techniques for climbing poles as well as operating bucket and digger trucks.

Two cohorts make up this unique program.

  • The El Paso Electric (EPE) internship
  • A New Mexico cohort

The New Mexico cohort serves the needs of electric companies, cooperatives, cable television companies, telephone companies and line construction contractors in the state and West Texas. The New Mexico cohort like the EPE internship hosts a paid cooperative learning opportunity.

EPE hosts a paid cooperative learning opportunity for the Electrical Lineworker Certification Program providing scholarships for those accepted into the cohort.

In addition a summer internship helps complete the requirements for the certificate.

Throughout the duration of the internship, students develop the technical skillset required to safely and successfully complete a Lineworker apprenticeship. Participants of this program are immersed into the frontlines of the industry and gain safe, hands-on experience with seasoned experts and their line crews. They also gain exposure to the physical and environmental challenges associated with this career.

“A vital piece to developing safe, clean and reliable energy for our customers is guaranteeing that we have a well-trained, sustainable workforce,” said EPE Vice President of Transmission and Distribution Clay Doyle. “DACC’s Electrical Lineworker Certificate program grants EPE a unique opportunity to implement an internship that serves as a pipeline for a workforce dedicated to serving our region, while offering students real-world experiences that will help launch their career in the electric utility industry.”

EPE built an electric training facility at the DACC Chaparral campus to advance the effectiveness of the internship partnership. The facility includes poles, transformers, and other equipment donated by EPE to create the most realistic experience possible for DACC students and allow them to work with the same technology they will use on the job.

For more information about the opportunities that the Lineworker program offers, contact Terry Mount (575) 527-7584.