Chase Abnet grew up watching his father climb tall power-line poles to bring back the lights during a blackout. By the time he was 15, his dad was teaching him how to climb them too.
When Kalamazoo Valley Community College announced it was launching a 26-week Utility Line Worker Academy this year, the 20-year-old from Mendon said he didn’t think twice about applying.
“My dad would bring trucks and equipment home and finally he taught me how to climb up the poles. I knew I always wanted to do it” Abnet said. “It’s almost impossible to get into this if you’re not schooled. I was planning on going to Lansing Community College for a similar program, but doing it here is more convenient.”
Congressman Fred Upton, who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, spoke at a ribbon-cutting event for the new academy on Friday. He thanked the 15 students selected for the academy from a field of 67 applicants for choosing to put their “lives on the line to make sure we have lit communities.”