(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Lineworkers have a prime responsibility to uphold by guaranteeing that customers are provided with electricity year-round, and Texas State Technical College Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology alumnus Ernesto Hernandez finds great pride in that accountability.
The effort that he provides as a lineworker apprentice in his dream job with Magic Valley Electric Cooperative is preparing him for a rewarding career.
“My job duties consist of assisting the linemen and supervisor with any help that they may need,” Hernandez said. “We gather material that’s needed for the day to perform the job. This guidance is preparing me for when I become a lineman in the company.”
HIs supervisor, George Garcia, said Hernandez has demonstrated the potential for career growth during Hernandez’s eight months as an apprentice.
“Ernesto is willing to try something new and learn it efficiently,” he said. “He has shown initiative since he was hired. If he continues at his current pace, I have no doubt he can transition to the second level of apprenticeship in the upcoming months.”
Hernandez began his lineworker career with Axis Power.
“I was hired as a subcontractor and held that job for six months,” he said. “The team I worked with did work at the SpaceX facility in Brownsville.”
Hernandez said each company he has worked for has had its unique appeal.
“At Axis Power, I learned a new set of skills in addition to what I learned at TSTC,” he said. “At Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, I have a great mentor that I’m learning from. Everyone understands the importance of helping your fellow teammate.”
His interest in the lineworker field started when he read an online article about the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States.
“I noticed the electrical lineworker industry based on that list,” he said. “What caught my interest was how teamwork, communication and skills were emphasized to get the job done. I used to work long hours in the refineries and oil fields for about 10 years. I realized that I was missing quality time with my family. That became my motivation to enroll in the lineworker program at TSTC.”
Hernandez credits his success to his training at TSTC.
“The key was to form a brotherhood with our classmates because that teaches us the leadership skills for our future career,” he said. “The instructors have the knowledge and skills to prepare any student to be successful.”
Candelario Deanda, his former instructor at TSTC, said Hernandez pushed himself to become better prepared.
“Ernesto did a great job by motivating himself and his fellow classmates,” he said. “That makes a great leader.”
According to onetonline.org, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $65,730 in Texas. The website projected that there would be a 24% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at its Abilene, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.