MANDAN N.D. (KXNET) — 55 brand new students have just begun their first week of training to become line workers in Mandan at the Bismarck State College Lineworker Campus.
“We teach them how to climb,” explained Lead Linework Instructor, Brad Anderson. “We will do demos, and all that different stuff, so that they understand exactly what they are supposed to do. And then we go ahead and let them loose, and let them do all the different activities.”
This is only a three-week summer course, so the new workers will have to come back in August to finish the program.
“In order to just get through our school,” Anderson stated, “It’s basically just a one-year school, plus the three-week summer session, and the one year of college.”
And with Mandan’s new facility — which opened in October — students are now able to practice rain or shine.
“If we have days that its windy, or, freezing cold outside, or raining outside,” Anderson said, “now we have this brand new facility — where we have enough clearance, and they can do all the different activities inside this building that they would actually be doing out in the field.”
Thankfully, this week, the sun was shining — meaning it was a perfect opportunity for students to grab their gear and go climbing.
“We’ve basically been outside getting the basics for climbing,” said student Nathan Overby, “and we’ve all been catching on pretty quick.”
However, with North Dakota being a windy state, and since lineworkers have to go to great heights, they need specific gear to make sure they don’t fall.
“Obviously you have your belt that goes around the pole,” assured Overby. “There is also a secondary mechanism, so if you fall or anything like that, it’s almost a safe catch that will catch you. You also have spurs on your feet.”
Nathan says it’s not an office job, which means this line of work is good enough for him.
“I was weighing my options with all sorts of careers,” he recalled, “and learned about linemen. Obviously, the poles are cool and everything, and I figured it’d be a pretty sweet job.”
Students also learn how to use different equipment, like bucket trucks. It’s the hope of the college — and KX — that all this information sticks with them, so they can hit the ground running in the fall semester.