EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — Tuesday morning Xcel Energy and Chippewa Valley Technical College showed off their electric power distribution training facilities as part of Wisconsin’s Careers in Energy Week.
Students climb power poles and maneuvered bucket trucks to show what technical and physical skills are needed to be a lineworker.
"In 9 months they learn how to climb a pole, how to work with electricity safely, how to run equipment, big equipment," said Bandi Henke, a CVTC instructor.
According to Xcel Energy, they expect more than half of their workforce to retire within 10 years, making training the next generation of lineworkers critical. A task that students like Drew Schultejans, says they are ready for.
“I love being outside, you don’t do the same things every day. You never know when you get called into work what you’re going to be doing,” Said Schultejans.
Although the job is exciting, Henke says at CVTC, they try to stress the importance of safety. “The aspect of wearing safety equipment, how to safely climb poles, how to safely work with electricity, so they can be competent entry level employees.”
Chippewa Valley Technical College’s electrical power distribution program is one of the oldest linework training programs in the state.
For more information visit www.cvtc.edu.