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Entry Level Electrical Lineworker Program’s First Four Students Earn the Grade with “Skills Rodeo” NEC Training Field in Robstown (Updated: Video)

DMC Continuing Education’s new program addressing the worker shortage among utility companies in the Coastal Bend; College offering 10-week program this summer and fall

Article by Melinda Eddleman

The first cohort for Del Mar College (DMC) Continuing Education’s new Entry Level Electrical Lineworker Program may be small, but the payoff for these first participants is BIG! In fact, area utility organizations are already interested in interviewing these students after they graduate from the program on April 6.

But, on April 4, the four students demonstrated what they’ve learned during a “skills rodeo” at the Nueces Electric Cooperative (NEC) Training Field in Robstown.

We’re proud to support Del Mar College’s new Electrical Lineworker Program as it is the first of its kind in the Coastal Bend area. At NEC, our mission is to help our members improve their quality of life, and we can fully support our mission by encouraging our newest generation of aspiring electrical lineworkers to be a part of something great. We wish Del Mar much success and cannot wait to see what the future brings.

Varzavand Irani, Nueces Electric Cooperative Chief Executive Officer

The first four students to participate with the intensive 10-week program, which started in January, include Andrew “Blake” Galvan, Gabriel Garcia, Rodolfo “Rudy” Landeros and Christopher Luzania. Among their past work experiences, these students held jobs in service, general maintenance and education positions before tackling training for a different line of work as entry level electrical lineworkers.

Lineworker Rode_Student Christopher Luzania Performing Insulator or Cross Arm Chang_040423

During the rodeo, the cohort demonstrated skills that included pole top rescue, personal protective grounding and insulator or cross arm changes. Their performances of these skills determine their final grades for the program. Students have taken progressive coursework that covers basic electricity, basic pole climb, employability skills, electrical safety and tools, digger derrick and pole framing, safety regulations, live line safety, transformers and distribution operations.

“Del Mar College is honored to participate with NEC and all the regional electrical transmission companies in preparing electrical lineworkers for the workforce,” added DMC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lenora Keas. “The College’s new training program provides the opportunity for individuals to develop skills for gainful employment or to advance their careers in the electrical transmission field, and the skills rodeo was an exciting opportunity for us to showcase the advanced skills needed to become and compete as a lineworker.”

As an industry partner needing more electrical lineworkers for their workforce, NEC has provided the College use of their Training Field for students’ hands-on experiences and opportunity to put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom.

Lineworker Rodeo_Christopher Luzania talking to Judges_040423

Additionally, American Electric Power (AEP) provided scholarship funds of up to $2,500 toward tuition for up to five students for this spring’s cohort as well as for the fall 2023 cohort. The College is also using funds toward students’ tuition from the safety grant it annually receives from Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

“Establishing our Entry Level Electrical Lineworker Program is an example of Del Mar College partnering with local service providers and the utility industry to help meet their targeted workforce demands with training in accordance to industry requirements,” said Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC Associate Vice President of Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs.

Cost for the Entry Level Electrical Lineworker Program includes $4,390 for tuition and fees, $3,200 for tools, $100 for pre-requisite tests and $200 for textbooks. Additionally, students must already hold a Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) as a pre-requisite and must bear the costs associated with a physical evaluation. The DMC Transportation Training Services’ CDL course is $4,500.

But given the cost to earn the program’s certificate, the earning potential in Texas for an entry level electrical lineworker ranges from $19 to $35 per hour according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Wages and Employment Projections report indicates job growth in this profession between 2020 and 2030 of 24%.

We tend to take electrical power for granted until we don’t have it. Lineworkers tend to be unsung heroes who work through all kinds of weather conditions and emergencies to restore power. During those instances, they’re everybody’s heroes. Del Mar College is ready to train individuals interested and driven about entering this line of work.

Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC Associate Vice President of Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs

To meet the need for more of these career professionals, DMC Continuing Education has scheduled two additional cohorts this year––one during the summer and the other this fall. Registration packets are available at the DMC Northwest Center located in Calallen at 13725 Northwest Blvd. (78410). Get online map and directions.

The summer program runs June 5 through Aug. 11. Complete applications and pre-requisites are due by Monday, May 15. The fall cohort begins Sept. 11 and runs through Nov. 17. Applications and pre-requisites must be completed by Monday, Aug. 21.

For more information about the Entry Level Electrical Lineworker Program, visit https://www.delmar.edu/ce/training/electrical-lineworker/index.html or contact Michelle Avalos, Northwest Center Director with DMC Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs, at 361-698-2445 or aavalos4@delmar.edu.


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.