(HARLINGEN, Texas) – When people make their daily commutes, they sometimes see electrical lineworkers working on power lines to help restore power.
Texas State Technical College Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology alumnus Dustin Sanchez finds it rewarding to provide that service as a lineman apprentice with the Brownsville Public Utilities Board.
“My neighbor is an electrical lineworker who works for an area electric utility company,” he said. “I still remember driving home after work and seeing him in a bucket truck. I found his job interesting and asked him many questions. He mentioned that TSTC has an Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program, so I researched online.”
That was the starting point that led to Sanchez’s decision to enroll at TSTC.
“I heard the program offered a nine-month certification option,” he said. “It enticed me because I enjoy learning something different.”
Sanchez graduated from the program with a certificate of completion in August 2022 before getting his job with the Brownsville PUB.
“I’m with a mentor who is an electrical lineman,” he said of his job. “I help drive the bucket truck, and I hand the tools to my teammate while he is in the bucket truck. Then he controls the gears to raise himself to the power lines to work on a job task. I observe him to learn more, but it’s also part of the job as a safety precaution. I’ve been given opportunities to perform on my own while my mentor observes me. We both gather the necessary tools, and I get hoisted in the bucket truck to work on the power lines.”
Sanchez said the company emphasizes safety for its workers.
“The communication with my crew is great,” he said. “It’s vital for all safety measures. As for the foreman, he notifies the crew about the job task for that day. He’s excellent at his communication skills and ensures we follow safety protocols.”
Sanchez finds the work fulfilling.
“There have been members of the community that have thanked me for restoring power in their homes,” he said. “It gave me joy knowing that I did something crucial for many families.”
He credits his success to his program experience at TSTC.
“The knowledge I gained, beginning with climbing the pole, removing and reinstalling a transformer, was stimulating,” he said. “Every task entailed minor steps, and I learned something new. My instructors Candelario (Deanda) and Javier (Garcia) were there to assist us and climb up the pole as well.”
Deanda said Sanchez is a well-spoken leader who demonstrated the ability to be successful by leading a team when he was a student.
“Dustin’s leadership qualities have carried over into the Brownsville PUB,” he said “He is grasping the training he has received, and it’s preparing him for an excellent future.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $63,770 in Texas. Onetonline.org 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 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 spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.