Cooperative News

PEC’s Safety and Technical Training Center celebrates second anniversary

Program provides local training to grow the next generation of lineworkers

PEC’s Safety and Technical Training Center is celebrating two years since opening. The facility provides hands-on training to lineworkers in a controlled learning environment. In 2020, PEC repurposed its former Marble Falls office to help build the training center, which was created in partnership with the Northwest Lineman College (NLC), an industry-leading educational institution.

Josh Hanawalt, a certified instructor at PEC’s Safety and Technical Training Center explains that with journeyworkers in high demand and many experienced workers phasing into retirement, building this program is an investment on PEC’s part.

“There’s a huge void and a need to be filled with qualified and competent lineworkers, and the apprenticeship program accomplishes just that,” Hanawalt said. “Our membership is growing, and everyone needs power. These guys are going to be more prepared and ready to serve them.”

The training center brings real-world situations into the classroom, with a focus on training lineworker apprentices, and will soon expand to include journeyworkers. Through the apprenticeship program, lineworkers begin the journey to become a journeyworker with lessons on pole climbing, transformer repair, rubber glove training, field inspections, and computer courses on PEC’s mapping systems.

“These guys have to remember that at the end of the day, we’re dealing with something that could be potentially life changing,” Hanawalt said. “We want them to leave here educated and confident.”

PEC instructors teach everything from technical skills to safety protocols and use advanced equipment, including a special transformer simulator to teach crews how to work safely with energized equipment. It takes about four years to complete the program and reach the top as a journeyworker. But every step of the way, lineworkers are honing their craft in a safe and controlled environment.

Training employees at home is also a cost-savings for the cooperative. Whereas crews previously had to travel for training, PEC can now save money by keeping the training in our service territory. Localized training also allows apprentices to go home to their families after class and increases the availability of lineworkers should they need to respond to an outage.

Interested in training at PEC’s Safety and Technical Training Center? First, you must join our team on the PEC crew in blue. Once hired, all PEC apprentices must complete the program. Check our careers site regularly for apprentice and journeyworker openings.