PEC celebrates National Lineman Appreciation Day

Co-op tackles growing need for lineworkers, investing in training, education, and career opportunities for next generation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(JOHNSON CITY, Texas) April 18, 2024 — Pedernales Electric Cooperative is proudly celebrating National Lineman Appreciation Day today, honoring its crews and investing in their training, education, and career growth. As part of PEC’s commitment to provide safe and reliable power, for more than a decade the co-op has focused on cultivating a top industry training program to attract and train the next generation of lineworkers. These crews will help power PEC’s members and growing communities into the future.

To reinforce the co-op’s focus on safety and training, in 2020, PEC opened a dedicated facility to house its Department of Labor-certified apprenticeship program in Marble Falls, an expansion of its apprenticeship program that began in 2012. This year, the first PEC apprentices to complete their training at the facility are graduating, reaching the highest level of linework as journeyworkers.

“Seeing our lineworkers learn, grow, and perfect their craft over the past four years has been an incredible journey,” said James Vasquez, PEC’s director of safety and technical training. “They have mastered skills at an extraordinary level and with a commitment to safety. Our members and communities can count on the service from these lineworkers for their power needs and we’re proud to promote this group to the next level in their career.”

Those listed below are part of PEC’s inaugural class graduating from its apprenticeship program at the Marble Falls safety and technical training center. The group first began the program in 2020, when PEC opened the facility.

·      Jacob Chapman (Junction)
·      JR Ewing (Marble Falls)
·      Austin Hernandez (Oak Hill)
·      Blake Jackson (Liberty Hill)
·      Jacob Simons (Liberty Hill)
·      Phillip Stapp (Junction)

Providing programs that support lineworker careers also helps further improve reliability for the cooperative — adding another layer of support to keep PEC’s system strong and resilient.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this program and for having PEC’s full support,” said JR Ewing, Marble Falls Journeyworker. “We learned so much through our training and from the seasoned journeyworkers, and I’m eager to impart that wisdom with the new apprentices to keep our PEC crews strong and the lights on for our members.”

PEC developed its program in partnership with the Northwest Lineman College, an educational institution providing safety and certification training in the power delivery industry. Through their training, PEC lineworkers gain hands-on experience working with energized equipment in a controlled environment. They practice real situations that they may encounter in the field and focus on safety protocols and improving their technical skills. Keeping training local, within PEC’s service area allows lineworkers to go home to their families after training and keeps PEC crews nearby to respond to outages when needed.

Currently, 110 apprentice lineworkers are on the track to become journeyworkers through the four-year program and PEC employs 137 journeyworkers across its 8,100 square-mile service territory. To further promote careers in linework, PEC has also started working with local high schools to inspire students to explore careers in linework. PEC’s new pre-apprenticeship program creates a pathway for those interested in joining PEC as a lineworker apprentice and progressing their career toward becoming a journeyworker.

PEC lineworkers help maintain more than 25,000 miles of distribution and 300 miles of transmission lines across 8,100 square miles of service territory in some of the nation’s fastest-growing counties.

“Our lineworkers are the key to our reliability, responding to outages in all weather and at all hours,” Vasquez said. “As they show their commitment to power our members and communities, we are proud to build programs to support their safety, training and education, and to pave a path for a bright and fulfilling career.”

Those interested in serving their community through a career in linework can learn more online or apply at jobs.pec.coop. Additional information on PEC’s apprenticeship program is also available online and by emailing [email protected].

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