Students in TSTC Lineworker Program gain experience as contractors during winter storm

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WACO, Texas – At least 50 Texas State Technical College students got hands-on experience during last week’s winter storm power outages.

Climbing lines and tying rope are just a few skills these students learned in the Electrical Lineworker Program.

With millions across the state of Texas without power, they were able to partner with J&S Inspections to get on-the-job learning.

Student Jacobe Essary says this is what his future career will be, so he enjoyed the training.

“I got to watch lineworkers work on poles and use the sticks and take fuses down. I got to learn a little bit while I was doing it,” Essary says.

The students who participated worked as on-call contractors assisting as drivers for damage evaluators and wire-down guards.

Joel Hardin, who is also a part of the program, was glad he got to assist.

“They would send me an address, and I would go sit out there where power lines would go down, and I would watch them do their process. It’s on-the-job learning experience,” Hardin says.

The students worked long hours, but say it was worth it. They also got paid in the process.

“We made $18 an hour, and after eight hours we got time-and-a-half,” Essary says. “So if we worked 12 hours, we’d get $18 that eight hours, and then $27 for the rest of the four hours.”

Instructor Jim Fielding says there is no live electricity, and the students learn all aspects of linework – with safety as a top priority.

“Safety is paramount in this industry, and that’s what we teach safety. Everything we do, we emphasize safety first,” Fielding said.

Students in the program can earn their Associate’s Degree, and are supported with a money-back guarantee.

According to the Federal Agency – nationally, more than 116,000 power line installers and repair workers will be needed by 2029.

“We are getting experience being out there, kind of knowing the ropes of what we are going to be doing, and I think that’s really cool about the program,” Essary said.

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