For the 2020 Careers in Energy Week, we at the Okanogan County PUD want to share some of the variety of jobs we have, and the variety of education, training and experience that get us there.
Nearly half our staff here begin as apprentices, usually working their way toward being a lineman.
Just this year, Sean Divis completed his 3-year apprenticeship program to become a journeyman lineman. The process took multiple courses, tests and 6,000 hours of training. We still have four other apprentices working towards their journeyman card.
Another apprentice in a different craft is Derik Groomes, who is training to be a meterman - wiring for installations, repairs and maintenance of meters. He first came to the PUD as a distribution engineer, but took on the new apprenticeship in July 2019.
The online school portion takes 3.5 years to complete. The program is competitive, with few positions available, so it helps if a candidate has some electrician experience, or other utility work, and is prepared for a lot of mathematics.
Apprenticeships aren’t just a great way to get a job, they are a great way for employers to hire locals, who train up and climb through the ranks to higher positions later. It’s a way we have been able to “grow our own” here in Okanogan County.