Photos by Patricia Canavan
July 23, 2013
Behind Hartzell Hall on Northampton Community College's Main Campus, careers are on the line. People who hope to enroll in NCC's new lineworker training program don't have to scale tall buildings in a single bound, but they do need to climb tall poles, hoist heavy cross bars, and use hand tools that look like they belong to Paul Bunyan. The work is strenuous, but the pay is good.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for line installers and repairers is around $54,000 per year for constructing and maintaining the overhead and underground electrical systems that enable the rest of us to power up our lights, TVs and computers.
Thirty-six candidates have applied for sixteen seats in the first class that will go through the program at Northampton. A lottery will be held to determine who will get to enroll. The 12-week program includes instruction in basic electricity and electrical systems, grounding, transformers, material identification, live-line tools metering, climbing and rigging and accident prevention. The next session will start in March.