(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Since its inception, the electrical lineworker industry has been a male-dominated field. But that is changing.
First-semester students Anastacia Parsons and Ruth Smith are the first women to enroll in the Electrical Lineworker Technology program at the Texas State Technical College campus in Harlingen.
Both students are pursuing Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electrical Lineworker Technology.
They commented on being a part of TSTC history.
“It is very motivating, and I hope more females decide to enroll,” Parsons said.
“I feel like I can accomplish anything,” Smith said.
Parsons, of Brownsville, recalled observing a social media advertisement for TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program.
“I did some research to learn more,” she said. “I knew it was my calling. Now that I am in the program, it is an awesome feeling to know that I am treated equally.”
Her strategy is to stay driven, dedicated and motivated as she gains knowledge and an education. She credits her parents as an influence because they motivated her to work hard in life.
She said the program is an enjoyable learning experience.
“Mr. (Candelario) Deanda is teaching us how to pole climb, how to install a crossarm, and what the purpose of each is,” she said.
Smith, of San Benito, enrolled in the program because she has a passion for the industry. Her husband is a professional lineworker.
She said that from a young age she was curious about electricity and would ask questions about where electricity came from and why lights went out during storms.
Smith’s strategy for succeeding is to maintain a positive mindset and not to be intimidated.
“I had a fear of falling at first, but you learn to trust your equipment,” she said.
Smith said she feels positive and capable of performing several tasks.
“My knowledge, from learning how to pole climb to installing a crossarm, is expanding,” she said. “Mr. Deanda goes step-by-step with his teaching methods. He is a great instructor.”
Both students are well aware of what the lineworker job entails and look forward to being a part of it.
“I have the opportunity to give more and do my part in this world,” Parsons said.
“This means more job opportunities regardless of the weather situations,” Smith said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $55,880 in Texas. Onetonline.org projects that there will be an increase of 16% in the number of such jobs in the state by 2028.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Lineworker Technology and an Electrical Lineworker certificate of completion at its Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
For more information, visit tstc.edu.