Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology students had a rare moment in the shade as they met team members visiting from Magic Valley Electric Cooperative.
The students recounted how they became interested in lineworking. From fulfilling childhood dreams, to word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, to not knowing much about the industry until enrolling in the program, they gathered Tuesday at the pole yard for a single reason: to learn what Magic Valley could offer them after graduating.
“How many of you have heard of Magic Valley?” asked Atanacio Hinojosa, the cooperative’s Western Division manager. Nearly all of the students raised their hands.
The Magic Valley team members described their company’s benefits and training opportunities for employees — and gave students a taste of what it might be like to work there.
“If you have a passion for it and you like it, you never really work a day in your life,” Magic Valley employee Corey Wells said. “This job isn’t for everybody, but y’all are in the stages when you’re seeing what this is about.”
TSTC students can study to earn a 20-month Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Lineworker Technology, or they can choose a 12-month Electrical Lineworker certificate of completion. The program is offered at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
“These guys, they came in without knowing anything,” Angel Toledo, TSTC lineworker lead instructor, said of his students. “So the most important thing for them to learn is safety. That’s number one.”
Magic Valley team members also emphasized this point, adding that lineworkers enjoy a special camaraderie.
“I came to Magic Valley to be a part of a family — and also be closer to home,” Wells said.
Electrical power-line installers and repairers are in high demand in Texas, with a projected growth of 16% by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in the state can earn, on average, $55,880 annually, according to onetonline.org.
Electrical Lineworker Technology is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. This program refunds tuition to participating students who do not find a job in their profession within six months of graduation.
There may be TSTC lineworker graduates working at Magic Valley in the near future, said Vince Macias, loss control manager for the cooperative.
“You’re going to have an advantage because you’ve been to this school,” he told the students. “You already have your mind focused on your career choice. Hopefully, we can have a successful career for some of the students. If you made it this far, congratulations.”
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.