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Winter storm shines spotlight on line workers

Outside of the times when you lose power, you might have never thought about what goes into becoming a line worker. According to Wisconsin Public Service, more than 500 field workers from across Wisconsin and the Midwest came to the area for what they call “one of the largest restoration efforts in WPS history. The wind and snow caused line workers to have to restring 40 miles of power line and replace more than 300 poles and 20,000 other pieces of equipment across more than 40,000 work hours. Like many industries, finding line workers is easier said than done. The next generation of line workers is hard at work at programs hosted at schools like Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. The college offers a nine-month technical program consisting of classroom time and hands-on training before they find apprenticeships. Instructor Pete Mleziva says it is a rewarding career with plenty of positives that go beyond what is printed on a pay stub.

WPS Spokesperson Matt Cullen said last week during the restoration efforts that they owe a lot of thanks to the lineworkers who connected homes and businesses.

Mleziva says many line workers have a starting wage of nearly $60,000 a year.

 

Picture courtesy of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

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