BRYAN, TX – A new academy at the RELLIS Campus will train workers for the electric power industry, to fill the need for employees to scale utility poles and keep electricity flowing.
The TEEX Lineman Academy was launched on April 18 — which was National Lineman Appreciation Day — by a joint memorandum of agreement between the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and Blinn College. The agreement was signed by TEEX Director Gary Sera and Blinn College Chancellor Mary Hensley, in front of electric power industry officials as well as Blinn and TEEX employees. The signing ceremony was held in a Utilities Hangar at the RELLIS Campus dedicated to the TEEX training program. (In photo, Mary Hensley and Gary Sera sign a memorandum of agreement, while Len Jenicek looks on.)
The utilities profession represents an $880 billion industry responsible for providing crucial infrastructure support throughout Texas and our nation. A shortage of electric power professionals is anticipated as many Baby Boomers’ in the industry retire, Sera said. To illustrate the need for this training, officials pointed to the linemen who were vital to restoring electric power following Hurricane Harvey.
This skills training, designed for entry-level employees, will get them up to speed and ready to go to work, said Len Jenicek, Training Manager for the Academy. Those who complete the Lineman Academy will have demonstrated the desire and willingness to work as a lineman. This will save utility companies time and money in training employees who may not pan out, he added.
The 15-week academy, which is accepting its first students on June 11, will provide a pipeline for new linemen to learn the industry from the ground up, and get college credit as well. The goal is to provide a viable career path for high school students ready to enter the workforce or others seeking a new career in the utilities industry, while offering them college credit toward an Associate’s Degree in Industrial Technology at Blinn, Jenicek said.
The 480-hour certificate program will be delivered over a 15-week period through traditional classroom instruction along with practical field exercises and required skills testing. Students also receive training and guidance on writing effective resumes, successful interviewing techniques, and opportunities to participate in a hosted job fair connecting students with potential employers.
Those who complete the program will earn qualification cards in wood pole climbing and bucket & digger truck operation. They will obtain an OSHA 10-hour Construction Card, a Traffic Flagger Card and a First Aid/CPR/AED Card. Students will also have the opportunity to prepare for the Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam.
“I’m excited about the new academy and our collaboration with Blinn College,” Jenicek said. “This represents the type of collaborative effort that is the focus of the RELLIS Campus.”