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The Lookout | April 12, 2021

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West campus program empowers

West campus program empowers
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By Julie Newell
Associate Editor

Among the many interesting programs at LCC’s west campus is the Utility and Energy Systems Program.

“(The) Utility and Energy Systems Program, that’s just a heading, and there are all sorts of programs underneath it,” Line Worker Program Coordinator/Instructor Rex Peckens said.

“In the utility and energy systems, (a student) can become a residential electrician, an industrial electrician, a construction electrician. They can become a motor controls technician. They can become a utility line worker to work out in climbing poles and fixing power lines.”

LCC student Kristina Tilford gave more details of the line worker program.

“The line worker program is a really cool program that helps you to learn a lot of the basics about electricity, energy, safety and even health and fitness,” Tilford said. “In this program you work toward a certificate that makes you more eligible to become a line worker apprentice. It takes about a year to complete and includes a lot of cool opportunities to get into Consumers (Energy).”

Tilford commented on why she chose this program.

“I had decided at the time that I wanted a job that was physical with a great view,” Tilford said. “This (program) included everything I asked for and I would get to be a hero as well. I am excited about working outdoors and it turns out linemen make pretty good money, too.

“Interestingly enough, the main thing I was worried about when I joined was the fact that I had very little electrical background. As it turns out, after several awesome classes, the electricity is now my favorite part. I really have enjoyed learning all about how to make electricity bend to my will. It is very empowering.”

Peckens expanded on the types of things student can learn from the different program classes.

“We have we have classes from alternate AC theory, AC theory, electrical motor operations, how electrical motor runs control systems,” Peckens said. “We work with the Mechatronics Program and in helping teach a few of their classes to get their kids ready for their mechatronics.

“In residential wiring we teach people how to how to wire a house and industrial wiring for the line worker program. We teach what to do on the poles and how to hang wire and troubleshoot wiring the power grid and so on … all sorts of cool stuff.”

For more information about the Utility and Energy Systems Program, go to the program website.

“There are so many opportunities out here at west campus for someone who wants to find their area,” Peckens said. “And the people out here will bend over backwards to help someone find their niche.”