Texas Border Business
By Amanda Sotelo
HARLINGEN, Texas – Texas State Technical College will introduce a new program this year to the campus: Electrical Lineworker Technology, the only of its kind in South Texas.
Already a successful program at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall and Waco campuses, it will be introduced in Fall 2020 to help industry meet the demand of a depleting workforce in the area and across the state.
“We are excited to introduce this program to the community,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology statewide department chair. “It’s been a couple of years in the making and we’re finally going to see our vision become a reality.”
The program will offer a certificate and associate degree track, each three semesters and five semesters, respectively.
“Students in the program will learn all of the fundamentals they need for a successful career as a lineworker,” said Carithers. “It’s a rigorous program, but with many local and statewide job opportunities.”
TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez said TSTC is the no. 1 single provider of electrical lineworkers in Texas, providing 80% of the workforce.
“This program will provide the South Texas community an opportunity to train for this in demand and growing industry that provides high-paying jobs,” said Hernandez.
The Electrical Lineworker Technology program includes hands-on training in areas such as electrical safety and tools, electricity principles, transformer connections, rigging and conveying systems, electrical power distribution and transmission and underground utilities.
Students will also have access to a 12-acre pole yard on the corner of Rio Hondo Road and 29th Street, equipped with more than 100 poles that will be used to train students in climbing and climbing safety. There will also be simulators for meter, underground and overhead wiring, transmission, and distribution systems training.
The Electrical Lineworker Technology program will also work closely with the TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education office to ensure that students in the program can obtain their required commercial drivers license through TSTC’s CDL program.
Adan Gutierrez, TSTC director of decision support, who has been involved in the process of bringing the program to Harlingen, said the program, which models those already being offered by TSTC throughout the state, is designed to deliver high-quality instruction to give students a solid foundation in the field, including the latest training technologies and meet industry-standard needs.
“TSTC’s mission is to place more Texans into great-paying jobs and this program helps us fulfill that mission,” said Gutierrez. “It will give students an edge when it comes to employability. Employers look for highly-skilled workers and our students will be able to fill that need.”
Gutierrez added that this program is expected to give students a high return on their investment.
According to O*Net, the national median wage for an electrical lineworker is more than $70,000 annually.
Carithers said graduates from TSTC’s other electrical lineworker programs have even earned up to six-figures.
“Pay will always depend on company, location and how much work you put into your career,” said Carithers. “But graduates from this program have opportunities to advance and grow if they wish to.”
TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology associate degree track is also included in the college’s Money Back Guarantee plan, which states that if a student does not find employment within six months of graduating, tuition is reimbursed.
Electrical Lineworker Technology faculty will be on hand during TSTC’s Open House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, with presentations at the Aviation Technology building in Room T123.