Lineman Training Here in Region 8

NEWPORT (KAIT) There are still thousands of linemen working throughout Region Eight.

We wanted to know what kind of person does this work for a living?

And how do they prepare for such a career?

If you want to work outside this is the perfect job. The hours are long and hard but the money is well worth it and so is the job satisfaction.

ASU Newport has a high voltage lineman's course and I stopped by to see the next generation of linemen..in action.

What sort of person does this for a living?

Drew Tillman, Student, "There's not very many people out there willing to climb a pole like I am cause I'm a young guy."

Adam Hayden, Student, "Messing with voltage that you're really not supposed to be messing with. It's kind of a young mans game maybe."

Clay Fulton, the primary instructor at the lineman's course says, "You have to be kinda fearless cause you climb a 40 50 60 foot pole you got to be fearless just about."

The ASU Newport Lineman Technology Program offers a technical certificate or Associate of Applied Science degree.

The program is both classroom...

Clay Fulton, "We have a lot of theory work here in the classroom basically when the student starts we talk AC/DC we learn theory about electricity, how it works , got to start off with the basics and work your way up."

And outside...

Fulton, "They start off climbing, we go outside to the climbing area and they spend two or three weeks in harnesses, fall safety devices then they graduate out of it, start free climbing, stay out there another week or two."

I wanted to see what it was like since it's been a long time. I thought I'd try and climb a pole.

The students use the same kinds of equipment and vehicles that regular linemen use.

Many of them are working part time right now for Co-ops or contractors.

Drew Tillman, "It's a lot of experience getting out there and working with other companies and contractors and stuff. Out there working on the ice storm, you ain't gonna see stuff like this every day."

Currently there are 13 scholarship students from the 17 electrical Co-ops across the state. The course costs about 55-hundred plus about a thousand for equipment.  The program is now in it's 5th cycle of students. The Electric cooperatives contribute materials and equipment on a regular basis. And they receive skilled graduates that are ready to go to work on graduation day.

Adam Hayden says a little prep work will get you through.

"Maybe try to work for a Co-op during the summer if they will hire you on part time. You know start out like everybody else, digging holes and getting ready and maybe study your math book a little harder in high school."

The pay and benefits are worth the effort and time it takes to master the job but you have to consider the working conditions before you apply.

Fulton, "Working nights, during storms it's part of it and you have to be willing to do and that's what they like to do."

Kenny Browning has been added on to teach so the school hopes to have between 25 to 30 new students in the fall.