Improvements to Northwest Lineman College’s Electrical Lineworker Program Strengthen Student Success and Employment Opportunities

Northwest Lineman College announces substantial program innovations

Northwest Lineman College (NLC) has provided students with the training needed to excel in the linework trade for almost 30 years. Our commitment to our students is unwavering: We seek to ensure they are highly qualified for initial employment, successful in completing formalized apprenticeship and other training programs, and prepared to pursue a long, rewarding career. Improvements to NLC’s 15-week Electrical Lineworker Program, effective 2023, achieve these objectives through the following updates:​

Smart Grid and Electrical Devices CourseNew

Previously an optional course, the Smart Grid and Electrical Devices course has been incorporated into the curriculum. With advancements in smart-grid technology, power companies are integrating “smart” electrical devices into their systems. This course introduces students to many of the smart devices used today. Unavailable anywhere else, this course is valued by employers in power delivery and prepares all NLC graduates to operate the latest technologically advanced equipment in the industry.  ​

Underground Competencies​ – Updated

As the electric industry trends toward increased underground facility upgrades and installations, NLC will continue to meet the industry’s training needs for improved worker awareness and safety. Enhancements to existing underground competencies include Equipotential Zone (EPZ) Grounding, proper primary underground residential distribution wire (URD) cable identification using phoning-out methods, and correctly identifying underground secondary cables.​

Telecommunications Competencies ​- New

The backbone of the digital world is telecommunications—a robust, vibrant, growing industry that provides rewarding careers to lineworkers, equipment installers, and maintenance crews. As part of its program adjustments, overlashing competencies have been added to the program. NLC graduates will now enter the trade with proficiency in the installation and maintenance of overhead telecommunications networks. This program integration will strengthen the education of NLC students and increase their employment opportunities in both power and telecommunications.​

Live-Line Equipment and Maintenance Competencies Course – New​

In the industry, live-line work is a common practice that allows customers uninterrupted access to power while work is conducted on energized lines. This course teaches students how to care for common live-line tools and equipment used in construction, operation, and maintenance of electric transmission and distribution systems.​

Crane Certification (optional course)​ – Updated

This course includes nearly double the classroom instruction and field training required to prepare students to successfully pass the written and​ practical exams required to receive National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) certification to operate all swing-cab and fixed-cab telescopic boom cranes. NCCCO certification is the most​ widely accepted crane accreditation in the industry and is valid for five years. ​

Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance Certification ​- Updated

Chainsaws are a common tool on line trucks that require careful maintenance and inspection for safe operation. This course teaches the essentials of ​chainsaw safety, maintenance, and use, including safe performance of basic chainsaw-related tasks on the job site. ​

Overhead Secondary Course​ – New

This course includes common tasks associated with overhead distribution secondary and service with a focus on the correct use of materials and ​tools while working from a pole and ladder.   ​

Introduction to The Capacity Model®​ – New

Safety is the foundation of a long, rewarding career. To further emphasize safety as a core value, students learn the essentials of workplace safety: the principles and elements of The Capacity Model®, STKY™ controls, job briefings, and job hazard analysis. Students will also learn proper methods for fitting their climbing gear and hand tools. ​

General Line Construction Course​ – New

This culminating course allows students to apply skills they learned during the term by rebuilding sections of the yard. ​

In addition to the changes and improvements listed above, NLC is also updating courses, certifications, and competencies designed to improve knowledge, skill, and behavior, Digger Derrick safety, distribution, groundworker skills, material identification, and transformers. ​

To ensure educational excellence, NLC’s Department of Education facilitates a structured process of collecting curriculum feedback and recommended updates from industry experts that include key leaders from NLC and Quanta Services, industry professionals that are a part of its Program Advisory Committee, and the Department of Educational Effectiveness. Additionally, NLC’s professional educators are certified in adult education and are also journey-level lineworkers who come from all types of utility and construction companies in the industry. NLC’s Professional Technical Educator Program is an exclusive professional development program focused on transforming master craft workers into Department of Labor-certified professional technical educators.​