Energized by a semester of climbing 50 feet above the ground and working with live wires, on Monday 22 men celebrated their graduation from the Verdugo Power Academy and looked ahead to a lifetime atop power poles.
A ceremony at Brand Library drew nearly 100 well-wishers and representatives from the three sponsors of the program, Glendale Community College, Glendale Water & Power and the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board. The graduates completed 600 hours of training, including 200 hours above the ground, in an all-day, every-day semester of preparing for a career change.
“This is an important job,” Anita Quinones Gabrielian, president of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees, said during the ceremony. “They absolutely do keep the lights on for us in California.”
The program originated several years ago when Glendale Water & Power Assistant General Manager Ramon Abueg approached college officials about his difficulties finding qualified candidates to be linemen. Applicants tended to lack community ties and move on to other jobs quickly, said Scott Rubke, chairman of the college’s Technical Division.