Utility Line-Women Climb to the Top | NBC Southern California

Utility Line-Women Climb to the Top

LA Tech graduates the first all-female class of utility line-persons

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    Utility Line-Women Climb to the Top

    It takes a big, burly guy to shimmy up a 35-foot utility pole to keep those phone and electricity lines humming, right?

    Wrong.

    On Friday the first all-female utility lineman class graduated from the Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

    On Tuesday,  22 women put the finishing touches on the 600 hour, 11-week course, by completing their final certification tests high above the ground in a yard of 35-foot utility poles.

    During the final certification tests, the women were graded on climbing skill, safety precautions, equipment knowledge and various other skills.

    "It works muscles you didn't know you had," said Stephanie Alfonso, one of the utility lineman graduate.

    Many students found that mastering the climb was a challenge to be achieved, and fear to be overcome.

    "At first I was kind of second guessing myself, like 'What did I sign up for?' But after I got a rhythm of it, I really enjoy this," said Britney Jones, utility lineman graduate.

    "I didn't know how to do it. I didn't know how to balance. I was scared, nervous. I wanted to go home and just be in bed," said Alfonso. "But once I figured it out, it became something exciting. Something obsessive. I just want to do it, and keep doing it."

    It was with help from a $1-million Clean Energy Workforce grant, that the school was able to offer a free course for women only, reported the Los Angeles Times.

    The students ranged in age from 20 to 45, and one is even homeless.

    After their graduation ceremony Friday, the women gave a climbing demonstration for their friends and family.

    "I like doing this. It's an adrenalin rush. I can't get enough of it," said Jones.

    The school has offered the class since 2008, but only two women enrolled in that time, according to the Times.