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Odessa College's Lineman Program is helping the lineman shortage

In the Permian Basin, there is a constant need for electrical linemen for electric companies. This need is a big reason why Odessa College started this program.

ODESSA, Texas — Star Electric is a West Texas Oilfield Electrical Contractor where Casey Swaim has been working as a Superintendent. 

He's in charge of interviewing candidates, but he tells me the job that needs filling the most is electrical linemen. They are the men and women who scale the power lines to work and repair them. 

"Most of the time what is done is all of the distribution voltage, it's all of the overhead powerlines, underground primary," said Swaim.

For him, he says the job of a lineman is a hard one to fill. 

"Us and other contractors, that is one of the hardest things we do run into is having qualified people and personnel. There's very few linemen schools across the nation but having one here locally helps us tremendously because we have such a need in the oil field," Swaim said.

The local school Swaim is referring to is Odessa College's Lineman Program. "It is nice having the school not even two miles from our office." 

Credit: Brandon Blain
Credit: Brandon Blain

The 16-week program teaches students the basic skillsets needed in order to go out into the workforce and become qualified linemen. "Guys come in with a little more experience, climbing ability and they understand what the material looks like," Swaim said. 

With the right training and proper resources given through programs like the one at Odessa College, Swaim has hope that there will soon be more qualified linemen in the Permian Basin. 

"It's a great job, a great profession.... It can be dangerous, it just has to be treated with respect. You want to teach the young guys the right way to do things and give them the tools they need to do it the right way," said Swaim. 

If you are interested in signing up for Odessa College's Linemen Program you can still register for the next Certification course which will begin January 10, 2022. For more information, call 432-335-6580 or visit www.odessa.edu/community/ce/index.html