(HARLINGEN, Texas) – There are instances in life when a heroic event occurs, such as firefighters saving people from a smoky building or a paramedic trying to keep a person alive.
Brandon Vega, of Harlingen, observed such an occurrence when AEP lineworkers worked hard to restore power in his community when he was young. Years later, the memory of that event inspired him to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Lineworker Technology at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus.
“AEP was doing maintenance on the power lines in my neighborhood when I was 10 years old,” he said. “I found their hands-on working style approach interesting.”
Vega’s decision to pursue the program was based on one simple question: Will I enjoy this career for the rest of my life?
“My uncle’s neighbor, who is a foreman for AEP in Pharr, offered valuable insight,” he said. “I really liked what I heard.”
The fifth-semester student’s program experience has been rewarding. An assignment he enjoyed very much was a double crossarm removal.
“With a two-person team, the objective is to climb the pole and change the crossarm in a timely manner,” he said. “I value teamwork because you learn from classmates’ suggestions. In this industry it is about safety and efficiency.”
Vega credits his father, the program’s instructors and his classmates’ camaraderie for his growth.
“My father told me to take pride in my work,” he said. “Do not take shortcuts. Take the time to ensure your work is done correctly.”
Vega’s eagerness to enter the workforce is apparent. His heart is set on getting a job with AEP, but he is ready to demonstrate his skills for any company.
“What I enjoy about AEP is they care about (each) employee’s safety and family,” he said. “That is important to me because I am about family.”
Vega will complete his degree in April.
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.
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.