Faith will be the first woman to graduate from the Electric Lineworker Pre-Apprentice certificate program and she already has big plans
Jul 22, 2020
Faith Bohannon grew up working with her hands. Her dad owns a water well drilling business outside of Grants, New Mexico, and she’s helped with the trucks and wells ever since she can remember.
That’s why when it came time to choose her own profession, Faith enrolled in CNM Ingenuity’s Electric Lineworker Pre-Apprentice program. She knew climbing poles and fixing the power grid would be satisfying, and full of adrenaline.
“The first time you go up a pole you’re definitely shakey, but you eventually find your feet and there’s always a good view,” Faith says.
Faith’s cohort is the third to go through the program—which is run at the Rio Rancho Campus— and Faith will be the first woman to graduate. She’s proud to be the first woman, but also says it’s not that big a deal because her cohort and instructor have been nothing but positive and helpful.
“I had to prove myself like anyone else in my class, but I’ve always been treated like an equal,” Faith says.
The program, taught by Kevin Dunlap who spent 33 years at the Central New Mexico Electrical Cooperative, prepares students for quality careers as professional electric lineworkers. All together, the program takes 15 weeks and teaches everything from lineman skills, to safety, to electricity basics. Students also get training so they can obtain a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.
After graduating, students are required to do a paid 240-hour internship and then can move onto a paid, full-time apprenticeship. Right now there’s a high rate of retirement among lineworkers who’ve reached retirement age, so power companies will be filling those jobs.
Faith plans to complete the certificate, then finish her associate degree in pre-health sciences. After that she’ll start looking for paid internships and then a paid apprenticeships. She’ll stay in New Mexico if she finds the right job, but is also happy to move out of state.
She knows she’s entering a male-dominated field but isn’t worried. She feels well-trained and understands that her work will speak for itself.
“For other women who are considering the lineworker program, I’d just tell them not to be afraid to go out of their comfort zone,” she says. “I’ve had tons of encouragement and I’m really excited to start my career.”
Story originally published on cnm.edu.