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Electrical lineman trade in growing need of workers, particularly in Utah Valley

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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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It was a work of precisionbrthat required the skilled workmanship of employees of South Utah ValleybrElectric Service District.

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A fire burned nearlybr9,000 acres on the southeast side of West Mountain last August, causingbrelectrical lines along the hillside to burn. Hundreds of West Mountainbrresidents were out of power, and the only way to restore it was through thebrskills and know-how of SESD linemen.

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Due to the nature ofbrthe hillside, with loose rocks and dirt, helicopters had to drop the poles tobrthe placement areas so workers could hike up the hills to post the poles bybrhand.

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According to SESDbremployee, Mark Holdaway, this was a job that only those with the right skillsbrand knowledge could do.

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The problem thebrcompany ran into was not enough skilled hands to do it all in a timely manner,brand with the population growing, the issue may worsen.

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“What you have tobrunderstand is that along with the work that needed to be done on West Mountain,brthere were regular, everyday house fixes that our workers needed to attend to,”brHoldaway said. “With the valley growing, and more and more residents needingbrpower to be connected, among other things, we need more workers to be able tobrdo that, and as it stands, there simply aren’t enough people getting into thebrlines worker trade.”

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What Holdaway said isbrtrue, and there are numbers to prove it.

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According to recentbrgrowth reports in Utah, Utah County alone is projected to add more than 1brmillion new residents to reach 1.6 million by 2065.

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Reports also foundbrthat over the next fifty years, 37 percent of the state’s population growth isbrprojected to be in Utah County.

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This means a growingbrnumber of residents will need power connected, more poles will need to bebrplaced, more lines will need to be maintained. Add to that natural disasters,brweather and other means having the potential to cause power outages, not tobrmention the retirement of older line workers, the need for more skilled linemenbris growing.

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So,brwhat is a lineman?

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A Lineman isbrresponsible for the install, repair and maintenance of high-power above orbrbelow-ground electrical cables and distribution lines (cable, internet andbrphone) and distribution lines.

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Places of employmentbrinclude utility companies, electrical contractors, telecommunications companiesbror local or state government agencies.

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Whatbrdoes it take to

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becomebra lineman?

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Entry level workersbrusually require a high school diploma and extensive on the job training andbreven apprenticeships under a Journeyman lineman.

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A two-year degree inbrelectronics or electrical contracting is helpful but not required.

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If the eventual goal isbrto become a journeyman lineman, four years of paid apprenticeship on-the-jobbrtraining (7,000 hours) as well as in-classroom training will be required.

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Whatbris the average pay of a lineman?

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According tobrGlassdoor.com, apprentice linemen can make between $36,000 and $66,000 a yearbrwith the average being $60,000 nationwide.

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A journeyman linemanbrcan make between $52,000 to $130,000 per year, with the national average beingbr$88,000. (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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