(MARSHALL, Texas) – East Texas electric cooperatives often look to Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Marshall as a source for well-trained workers.
“In most cases, cooperatives are relatively small in size, so they do not have the capacity to take large numbers of students semester after semester, though they are in the same situation as many other larger power providers that have an aging workforce,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Distribution and Industrial Electrical Systems department.
The Bowie-Cass, Cherokee County and Panola-Harrison electric cooperatives are some that have hired recent Electrical Lineworker Technology program graduates, according to information from TSTC’s Career Services office.
The Wood County Electric Cooperative in Quitman has also hired TSTC graduates in the past.
“I always look for someone who is interested and eager to learn,” said Ramon Steward, Wood County’s director of operations. “I want to hire hands-on type individuals who don’t mind taking instruction and are willing to try new things.”
Diana Hall, Wood County’s director of human resources, said the cooperative’s guiding principles help attract the right workers.
“Today, electricity enables everything from lifegiving sustenance to comfort to fun,” Hall said. “The workers we seek can recognize that fact, and the great responsibility of it.”
Carithers said he wants to see more partnerships with the state’s electric cooperatives so they can hire TSTC graduates from their service areas.
The need for electrical power-line installers and repairers is projected to rise to more than 116,000 workers by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth is attributed to commercial and residential growth.
Registration for the summer and fall semesters continues at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.