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Utility Workforce Reaches New Heights

May 12, 2021

How one tech college will fill the worker gap in the industry

A utility construction working using heavy machinery

In May 2019, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College will officially graduate the first students from the Utility Construction Technician program. A shortage of skilled workers in the field prompted Chase Lapcinski, Power & Communication Contractors Association board member, to initiate a new training at WITC. The effort to attract trade and supervision staff into the underground telecom and electric construction marketing is accurately titled, “Who Will do the Work?” The goal for the training addresses two challenges faced in the industry: a) to hire graduates with a known and consistent set of skills and b) to screen students during the training rather than in employment who are not comfortable with pole climbing or underground construction requirements.

The PCCA Board of Directors and Continuum Capital identified geographic areas where labor markets are particularly challenging and pinpointed the types of labor needed. The group initially selected Central Missouri and West Central Wisconsin to gain initial support and pilot the “Who Will Do the Work?” program. The partnership between PCCA and WITC seemed like a natural fit. The college has a strong reputation for providing skilled workers in the broadband/telecommunications industry.

"PUSH, Inc. is pleased to partner with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in the crafting of a new program, Utility Construction Technician,” said Garin Mayer, business development manager at Push, Inc. “This program is designed to give individuals the training they need to enter the growing utility service construction market."

With the support of PCCA, the Utility Construction Technician program will start in the fall of 2018. The program will introduce an array of utility construction practices, installed using the various methods within both underground and overhead methods. Students will take the theory learned in the classroom and implement the theories with real-world situations. One example of a hands-on lesson, students will use horizontal directional boring to install conduit under existing structures.

Graduates will understand basic electricity, print reading, facility locating and operation of equipment. Upon successful completion, graduates will have earned 30 credits, a technical diploma and a CDL class A permit. Graduates will be prepared to work in construction positions with owners and contractors in the telecom market.

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Complete application form
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Provide a copy of CDL Class A permit with air brakes
  • Provide verification of valid driver's license (a DUI or poor driving record may impact your employability)
  • Provide verification of DOT physical exam and pass drug test
  • Meet all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) requirements

Program Outcomes

Employers will expect Utility Construction Technician graduates to be able to:

  • Demonstrate safe practices and techniques
  • Perform site location and preparation
  • Perform construction principles
  • Apply basic electrical principles
  • Demonstrate customer service
  • Complete CDL-A licensure

This program is still under construction.

Please check back for application details. 

You can still take this time to learn about paying for college and apply for financial aid. 

Paying for College

Utility Construction Technician Curriculum

  • Customer Service
  • Truck Driving - Semi Level 1
  • Truck Driving - Semi Level 2
  • Truck Driving - Semi Level 3
  • Work Zone Safety and OSHA 10
  • Construction and Utility Permits
  • Locating and Print Reading
  • Internship
  • Construction Practices
  • Communications Electricity
  • Applied Communications
  • Math 373
  • Applied Information Resources

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