FAIRFIELD -- You could say Nathan Abraham is powering up his career.
Abraham, of Harrisburg, will graduate on May 11 with an Electrical Distribution Systems certificate from Frontier Community College in Fairfield.
Abraham is a 2017 graduate of Harrisburg High School. Interested in pursuing a career as a lineman, Abraham enrolled in the program at FCC to build a strong foundation of skills and training.
Reflecting on the past two semesters, he recommends the program to anyone interested in lineman work.
"The EDS program taught me everything I need to know to start a job as a lineman," Abraham said.
In addition to classroom learning concepts, he enjoyed working outside and receiving real-world training on poles as tall as 60 feet. Abraham said he is excited to start a lineman career after graduation. He is the son of Dean and Barbie Abraham.
The Electrical Distribution Systems program is a one-year certificate that prepares individuals to build, repair, and maintain overhead and underground electrical distribution systems while using safe practices.
The 31-credit hour program meets during the fall and spring semester. Classes are held Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program combines classroom lecture with outdoor training that includes pole climbing, operating a bucket truck, setting poles with a digger truck, constructing cross arms, hanging lines, building transformers, and hurt man rescue.
The first step in training is learning to climb the utility poles while wearing gaffs and using a safety harness. Once the students begin feeling comfortable with the gaffs, they move on to wearing the Buckingham Bucksqueeze belt while climbing, which is a fall-protection device. The climbing gear is provided by FCC, and students supply their own boots.
Lead Instructor Ed Patton brings real world experience to the classroom, having worked as a journeyman lineman for several years with the Mount Carmel Public Utility. Patton consistently stresses the importance of safety to the students, as well as the value of working as a team. Students complete a course in safety and accident prevention and experience working with rubber gloves to learn on-the-job safety concepts.
Because the EDS program is unique to the area, students travel as far 1.5 hours to FCC. This year's EDS students hail from Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Marion, Richland, Saline, Wabash, and White counties. The students have formed friendships along with important skills that will serve them well in a variety of jobs.
For additional information on the Electrical Distribution Systems program, call Frontier Community College at (618) 842-3711. Enrollment is open for the 2018 fall semester that begins August 16.