The Electric Utility Technology program offered by Venango College of Clarion University in partnership with Global Power Line Academy is a unique program that combines classroom learning with hands-on training. Students who successfully complete the program will earn an Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology Degree. Students will complete two full-time semesters of coursework in general and business education at Venango College in Oil City. Technical training will be completed during a 12-week summer session (date TBA) at the Blue Knob All Seasons Resort in Claysburg, PA.
Industrial Field Training (28 Credits):
The curriculum at Global Power Line Academy includes: Students learn how to climb wood poles, install cross arms and hardware on poles, install underground systems, install conductors and pole-line equipment, operate the equipment, and learn to use various tools of the trade in simulated conditions.
General Education Courses (20 Credits): Writing II, Excursions in Math, Applications of Microcomputers, Basic Physical Science, Principles of Macroeconomics, Public Speaking and Health & Wellness
Business Courses (12 Credits): Intro to Business, Management Theory & Practice, Legal Environment I and Issues in Industrial Technology
Students must apply and meet the requirements for admission to Clarion University: http://www.clarion.edu/admissions
Students must pass a driving and criminal background screening, obtain a CDL physical and technical capabilities assessment, and meet the requirements necessary to obtain a CDL license.
Housing is available at Venango College of Clarion University during the academic coursework, and students can stay at condos at Blue Knob Ski Resort during their technical studies. Housing is $145/week, and students can room in 2-bedroom condos with another student, or alone in a studio apartment. Housing for the full 12-week program is approximately $1740.
12-Week Summer Session: Blue Knob All Seasons Resort: 1424 Overland Pass Claysburg, PA.
Students are required to have the following equipment on/before the first day of classes: Students can obtain these in advance, or purchase from Bashlin Industries during the orientation (approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of the technical program). The cost of these tools is approximately $1500. Students are also required to pay Global Powerline Academy $1100 for books and supplies, due on the first day of your technical classes. These include:
- BD16B-2N / Steel Offset Climbers w/ Replaceable Gaff, Top & Bottom straps
- 145AC / Double Strap Pad w/ Steel inserts for comfort
- 76 / Dakota Linemens Belt (D size required)
- 4016NX-8 / Adjustable Lanyard
- 25B / Nut & Bolt Bag
- 111HLDS / 5 Pocket Tool Holster
- 33 / Handline Carrier
- 11DCS / Tool Bag
- D507-10 / 10” Wrench
- D507-12 / 12” Wrench
- 600-8 / Screwdriver – Square Shaft
- 900-6 / Inside Read Rule
- 1550-4 / Linemens Knife
- B832 / 22 oz. Claw Hammer
- D2000-9NETH / Linemens Pliers
- 420G / Pump Pliers
- ME3-O / Hard Hat – Orange
- SG / Safety Glasses
- LCB / Linemens Climbing Boot (size Required)
- 120 / Work Glove (size Required)
- 831 / Linemen and Cablemen Handbook
- 204075 / Cynchlok Fall Restraint Device
For more information please call Dr. Bill Hallock, Chair of the Department of Applied Technology, at (814) 676-6591 x1307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on Admissions and Financial Aid please call Theresa Nestor at (814) 676-6591 x1211.
Hiring demands driven by an aging workforce and coupled with a lack of skilled applicants is creating a "perfect storm" in electric utility human resource departments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2008, 64% of the Pennsylvania utility workforce is over the age of 45. According to the US Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics report, as of the second quarter 2008, almost 40% of Pennsylvania's utility industry employees age 45 to 54 will be eligible for retirement in the next 5 to 10 years.
Additional industry challenges include legislation, such as Act 129, Distribution System Improvement Charges (DSIC), American Clean Energy and Security Act, and PA Climate Change Act. These legislative mandates address long overdue energy efficiency and infrastructure upgrades. They will also drive job creation and training needs in both emerging and traditional utility sectors. Some examples of infrastructure upgrades created by emerging technologies are grid Connections for utility scale solar & wind generation and smart grid and smart metering.
The electrical power generation, transmission and distribution industry employs about 400,000 people nationally. Of those power workers, 30-40 % will be eligible for retirement or will leave the industry for other reasons by 2013. Of those 120,000 to 160,000 that are going to be leaving the sector, an industry survey suggests 58,200 will be skilled workers and another 11,200 will be engineers. The National Commission on Energy Policy also predicts that by 2022 there will be a need for 150,000 professionals for designing and constructing new electrical infrastructure, or about 40 percent the size of the existing workforce. "The demand for skilled workers to operate and maintain the electrical generation systems of the future will increase steadily as new technologies come online. The number of additional workers will be around 60,000 by 2030, an increase of roughly 15 percent."
What does a Lineman do?
Every time you turn on your lights, call someone on the phone, watch cable television, or access the Internet, you are connecting to complex networks of physical power lines and cables that provide you with electricity and connect you with the outside world. Line installers and repairers, also known as line workers or linemen, are the people who install and maintain these networks.
Line installers and repairers typically specialize, and the areas in which they specialize depend on the network and industry in which they work:
Electrical power-line installers and repairers install and maintain the power grid—the network of power lines that moves electricity from generating plants to customers. They routinely work with high-voltage electricity, which requires extreme caution. This can range from hundreds of thousands of volts for the long-distance transmission lines that make up the power grid to less than 10,000 volts for distribution lines that supply electricity to homes and businesses.
Line workers who maintain the interstate power grid work in crews that travel to work locations throughout a large region to take care of transmission lines and towers. Workers employed by local utilities work mainly with lower voltage distribution lines, maintaining equipment such as transformers, voltage regulators, and switches. They may also work on traffic lights and street lights.
Telecommunications line installers and repairers install and maintain the lines and cables used by local and long-distance telephone services, cable television, the Internet, and other communications networks. These services use different types of cables, including fiber-optic cables. Unlike metallic cables that carry electricity, fiber-optic cables are made of glass or plastic and transmit signals using light. Working with fiber optics requires special skills, such as the ability to splice and finish off optical cables. Additionally, workers test and troubleshoot cables and networking equipment.
Because these systems are so complicated, many line workers also specialize by duty:
Line installers install new cable. They may work for construction contractors, utilities, or telecommunications companies. They generally start a new job by digging underground trenches or putting up utility poles and towers to carry the wires and cables. They use a variety of construction equipment, including digger derricks, which are trucks equipped with augers and cranes used to dig holes in the ground and set poles in place. Line installers also use trenchers, cable plows, and directional bore machines, which are used to cut openings in the earth to lay underground cables. Once the poles, towers, tunnels, or trenches are ready, line installers string cable along poles and towers or through tunnels and trenches.
Line repairers are employed by utilities and telecommunications companies that maintain existing power and telecommunications lines. Maintenance needs may be identified in a variety of ways, including remote monitoring equipment, inspections by airplane or helicopter, and customer reports of service outages. Line repairers often must replace aging or outdated equipment, so many of these workers have installation duties in addition to their repair duties.
When a problem is reported, line repairers must identify the cause and fix it. This usually involves testing equipment and replacing it as necessary. To work on poles, line installers usually use bucket trucks to raise themselves to the top of the structure, although all line workers must be adept at climbing poles and towers when necessary. Workers use special safety equipment to keep them from falling when climbing utility poles and towers.
Storms and other natural disasters can cause extensive damage to networks of power lines. When a connection goes out, line repairers must work quickly to restore service to customers. (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/line-installers-and-repairers.htm#tab-2)
The line construction trade requires an extreme physical fitness level, hard work, and commitment both mentally and physically. Students must be able to work under pressure and make quick, sound decisions. The trade sounds fun and looks cool, but it is extremely dangerous. Line workers put their lives and the lives of their coworkers on the line every day.