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Teen takes career to new heights after completing VC’s Power Line Worker class

Colbey Ray Not long after graduating from Victoria’s Futures Academy, 18-year-old Colbey Ray also successfully completed Victoria College’s Power Line Worker Level 1 class.

Colbey Ray had one question on his mind as he stared up at a 40-foot pole during Victoria College’s Power Line Worker class.

“Why am I doing this?” Ray recalled. “It was very nerve-racking the first time I had to climb it. Once I got to the top, there was nowhere else to go but down.”

Ray, 18, was working part-time at the Jackson Electric Co-Op warehouse last fall when he found out about Victoria College’s Power Line Worker classes.

“I really hadn’t decided what I wanted to do or what direction I was going to take in life,” said Ray, who graduated from Victoria’s Futures Academy in December.

Despite his fear of heights, Ray decided to enroll in the class.

“I have always hated heights of any kind, but I knew the job paid well so I decided to try something different,” Ray said. “I wound up loving it, so I went through with it.”

One of Ray’s biggest challenges was rescuing a 170-pound mannequin from atop the pole.

“I’m pretty scrawny, so it took a lot of work for me to get that dummy off the pole long enough for me to get a rope around him,” said the 6-foot, 130-pound Ray.

He successfully completed the class on Dec. 9 and is now is a full-time power line worker for Jackson Electric Co-Op.

“We repair lines and put new jobs in,” Ray said. “We do a lot of regular maintenance, including underground. It’s one of those kind of jobs that you learn a lot as you go. The class at VC helped me out a lot starting out.”

Ray said he would not have expected a year ago that he would be climbing poles for a living, but he recommends the career for those who enjoy a challenge.

“It’s a lot of fun, and it pays very well,” Ray said. “You’re constantly learning something new. Power line workers are kind of a family. It’s such a dangerous job, and everyone is looking out for each other.”

Victoria College will host Power Line Worker Info Sessions online on Wednesday, July 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. Participants will learn more about the power line worker trade and receive information on the application process.

To comply with Center for Disease Control recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the information sessions will be conducted online via Cisco WebEx through the link bit.ly/PowerLineWorkerInfo.

For more information on Victoria College’s Power Line Worker classes, call (361) 582-2528 or email AskCE@VictoriaCollege.edu.