Rio Rancho will be the new home of an electrical lineworker training program, thanks to a new partnership between Central New Mexico Community College, CNM Ingenuity Inc. and the New Mexico Electric Cooperatives Association.
NMRECA’s statewide Lineworker Electric Power Training Facility will relocate from its current location in Las Cruces to Rio Rancho’s CNM campus, where the association’s apprentices are expected to begin their fall apprenticeship training session in October. CNM Ingenuity, a non-profit that helps create cooperative programs in technology and entrepreneurship, will begin offering a pre-apprenticeship at the Rio Rancho location in January.
Although it will be hosted at the Rio Rancho campus, CNM Ingenuity senior program manager Dawnn Moore said the training facility program will be for NMRECA paid apprentices only and will train apprentices to become electrical lineworkers for one of the association’s 19 rural cooperatives throughout the state. All instructors will be provided by NMRECA.
Brad Moore, CNM’s director of communications, said the lineworker training program will include up to 50 NMRECA apprentices and the college will offer the program classrooms and a dedicated space outside the campus. He said five or six poles will be placed outside the campus for the apprentice program, allowing the students to learn how to climb and operate on an electric pole. Although the poles will be standard electric poles in every way, Brad Moore said no electricity will be conducted by the training poles.
CNM’s pre-apprenticeship program will offer students a 12-14 week course about electric linework, as well as an additional 240 hours of intern work with a rural cooperative. The program will be a no-credit class and will be treated similarly to other lab classes taught at the campus. The program’s curriculum and details are still being discussed between CNM and NMRECA officials.
The program, which includes between 15 to 20 students per cohort, will also teach skills to receive required certifications in CPR/first aid, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification and a Class A commercial driving license. Students who complete the pre-apprenticeship program will receive an institution certificate needed to enter the field’s workforce.
“CNM really chose the Rio Rancho campus specifically to put this program so that we could expand our offerings in the Rio Rancho community,” Dawnn Moore said.
In a statement, CNM board member Tom Swisstack said the partnership with AMRECA was great news for the Rio Rancho area.
“The electric lineworker training facility will draw people from around the state to Rio Rancho; it will provide an economic boost for our city and it will provide our Rio Rancho citizens with a direct pathway to quality jobs in this skilled profession,” Swisstack said.