LCTC Adds Lineman Training Program
Posted at 11:44 am on Thursday, October 27, 2022
By JOYANNA LOVE | Chief Editor
High school students have a new career exploration option through the lineman training program at the LeCroy Career Technical Center.
Instructor Landon Lowery said the course gives students the opportunity to see if they would enjoy it and have what it takes to be a lineman.
“We’re only the second or third program in the state to do this at the high school level,” Lowery said.
He said the program is designed to help students determine, “Is this something I want to do?” Can I climb 40 feet on a pole? And can I handle this?
“That way they don’t get into (a two-year post-secondary program) and spend a lot of money only to find out they can’t climb a pole,” Lowery said.
Even those who don’t want to climb utility poles will have a good grasp of other power company jobs, such as laying fiber optic cables for central access or working in telecommunications for a telephone company. Lowery said companies like Petty Line Construction would also be a career opportunity for students straight out of this program.
“In this course they cover everything from safety, just general safety, tool safety, to set up, climbing while working on poles, even pole top rescue, basic first aid – anything a lineman would encounter,” Lowery said. .
A “pole-top rescue” explains how to climb a pole and get someone down if something happens where they can’t get down themselves.
Lowery said safety is built into all aspects of the course, including environmental safety “how what they’re doing affects wildlife, how it affects waterways, electrical safety”, and avoiding falling or tripping on a building site.
The basics of electricity, reading building plans, calculating amps and setbacks, and soil analysis are also covered during the classroom portion of the program.
“We prefer that students have taken our industrial maintenance electrician course before coming in (the lineman course) because they get even more on the electrical side before coming to us,” Lowery said.
Senior Tyler Payton is one student who did just that.
“I started in electrical for electrical foundations to be lineman because that was the only class we had at the time and then when they opened up lineman I thought that was a opportunity, so I went straight to that,” Payton said.
The good salary and the opportunity to help people attracted Payton to the career choice.
“It’s always a wonderful thing to help people in need and to get out in a storm…it would just be a great job to do,” Payton said.
A practice area for climbing electric poles was built on October 26. The Central Alabama Electric Cooperative had personnel and equipment on site for construction.
“Their guys come out once, twice a month, and whenever I need anything, if I need an expert in a certain area, they send them out,” Lowery said.
Alabama Power also supported the program by offering guidance and getting students into the certification system.
Payton said seeing the poles go up was “the most fun part” of the course so far, but “the book work helps you out and introduces you to a lot of safety and protocols that you need to follow.”
As an agroscience educator, Lowery trained in electricity, then he trained in rope rescue at the Alabama Fire College.
This training gave Lowery the knowledge to know “all the ropes, knots and rigging and everything that would be needed to perform a pole top rescue”.
Students have the opportunity to take the Construction and Skilled Trades Examination, core certification requirements of the National Center for Construction Education & Research during the course.
There are plans to add NCCER lineman certification requirements next year.
Lowery said Alabama Power and electric cooperatives, like Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, require completion of a two-year lineman program.
College-level programs are offered at Trenholm State Community College and some Georgia schools. Lowery said Jefferson State Community College is also developing a lineman program.