Industry is still hurting all over Michigan, and particularly in the u–p.
But some career fields are still in very high demand and offer better-than-average pay and benefits.
Electrical line technician work is one of those.
The Lake Superior Community Partnership and NMU have had a line tech training program at K.I. Sawyer since 2003.
Instructors, current students and past graduates hosted an open house to reach out to anyone in the area who wants to know more about it.
Jerry LePage, an instructor with the program from the beginning, says there’s much more to it than learning how to climb up and down a utility pole.
The one-year course is 50% academic work in a classroom having to do with math and some electrical engineering.
Since anyplace that has electricity needs power lines and technicians to take care of the lines, jobs are always plentiful.
Apprenticeships in the field earn a pretty good living, with pay increases after a few years.
LePage says line tech work isn’t for everyone — it involves working at high elevations with live electric current in all kinds of weather conditions.
But it may be just the way to get a career off the ground.