Interns get hands-on experience with our linemen

By on June 29, 2017

This summer, interns Erik, Sam, and Damien have learned that working hard and putting People First go hand-in-hand. Recently, as they loaded bucket trucks with utility equipment, apprentice linemen working on the power lines above alerted them to an approaching line of cars. Interns followed the example of the line crew. Together, they briefly paused work to remove their hard hats and bow their heads in respect to a passing funeral procession. Although it was standard procedure for the crew, it served as an important lesson for the interns.

“It feels good that we took the time to show customers we care for them,” said Damien. “It’s great to be working with a crew that puts People First!

Erik Trevino, Damien Cervantes, and Samuel Diaz are our first summer interns to learn how our line crews put People First every day while working in the community. The three seniors from MacArthur High School are getting hands-on experience through a new internship program with our Distribution Services & Operations team.

“It means a lot to be the first ones out here,” said Erik. “I really like how everyone works as a team. They’re willing to teach us how to do the job right and we get a lot done in a short amount of time. By lunch time, we’re already done with half the job.”

Earlier this year, we recruited the interns through the Electrical Systems Technology Apprenticeship Program. Through the program, students get a basic understanding of electricity and how to size and install electrical wiring, switches, and plugs according to the National Electrical Code.

Intern Sam Diaz

Intern Samuel Diaz carries a pair of insulators removed from power lines near the old Bluebonnet Hall. Sam is one of three interns getting hands-on experience this summer with our linemen.

Journeyman Lineman William Schneider said the new program gives students a chance to see what they learned in the classroom being applied in the field. It also gives CPS Energy an opportunity to tap into the next generation of utility workers.

“These young men are basically getting to do everything a (utility) helper would do,” said Schneider. “The only difference is we’re keeping them away from working in energized fields for their safety.”

As the temperature climbed into the upper 90s, the interns spent several hours handing linemen their equipment. They quickly picked up debris and spare bits of electrical wire while taking time to hydrate and apply other safety practices.

“It’s blood, sweat, and tears out here, but it’s a rewarding career,” said Schneider, who just completed 25 years of service. “We started the internship program because we need to strike an interest with the next generation. My hope is these young men will go back to their school and share about the great work they accomplished this summer.”

Erik said he’s up for the challenge and is already making plans to jumpstart his career with CPS Energy.

Interns in action

Intern Sam Diaz unravels electrical wire for Apprentice Lineman Leeroy Smith while Intern Erik Trevino hands a bottle of water to another lineman. Staying hydrated and following safety procedures is top priority on the job.

“My favorite part of the job is picking everything up and loading it into the trucks,” he said. “It’s a great workout. I’m really grateful for the experience. I think this really gives us an advantage to apply for the Distribution Trainee program after we graduate.”

With that attitude, perhaps Erik will be directing his own group of interns in a few years, showing them how to work hard and put People First!

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