COLLEGE STATION, Texas—When you’re learning to reach new heights, sometimes you have to start on the ground.
In a classroom at the Texas A&M Rellis Campus, five students are preparing for a dangerous job.
And for those who make the cut, learn the ropes at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Lineman Academy.
“If you don’t have the drive and determination, then it’s not for you,” said Brian Linnell, a student in the academy.
Students spend 15 weeks in the program, and they graduate with numerous certifications like pole climber certification, OSHA certification, and electrical transmission and distribution certification.
It’s a workforce training program for a job where lineman put their lives at risk every day.
“If one of us isn’t paying attention, something could happen,” said Linnell.
“They have to protect the public, and make sure they’re following safety rules and performing the task the way they need to in order for it to be performed successfully and safely,” said TEEX Training Manager, Len Jenicek.
When disaster strikes, these unsung heroes are some of the first to respond.
“Lineman are a very integral part of the infrastructure,” said Jenicek.
“The line crews are sometimes the first people in and clear the way in, working to restore power,” he added.
And, those afraid of heights, need not apply.
“Some people climb the pole and get scared,” said student Raul Costilla.
“I love seeing people being up in the air, it’s just a little bit of an adrenaline rush,” said Lineman Academy student, Curtis Franklin.
Franklin should know- he comes from a family of lineman, including his father.
“That’s the only job he’s ever had,” said Franklin.
“Every time I come home, he’s always tickled pink. He’s always asking me questions and looking at my books,” he added.
And, for these aspiring daredevils, the possibilities are sky-high.