The Oneonta Job Corps Academy in New York has recently revealed two new telecommunication towers for student training. These towers, a 100-foot tripod-style tower and a 75-foot mono pole, will serve as training stations for students in the advanced overhead line, underground residential distribution, and smart meter and instrumentation programs.
Oneonta Job Corps collaborated with local employer partner Pro-Tel LLC on this project. Armindo Ortiz Bailon, a graduate of Oneonta Job Corps and an employee at Pro-Tel, played a key role in connecting his employer with the project and assisting in the construction of the towers.
The addition of these towers will allow students to gain experience working at heights above the standard 35-foot and 45-foot wooden poles currently used in the campus training yard. Brian Fox, the President and CEO of Education and Training Resources, emphasized that Oneonta Job Corps is the only center in the country to offer this advanced training program.
Former director Chris Kuhn, who is now the Executive Director of ETR, shared the history of the nationwide Job Corps Academy and the overhead line training program. Kuhn mentioned how instructor Steve Brown proposed the idea of building the towers to train the “next generation of climbers,” which eventually garnered interest from employers seeking to hire graduates of the program.
Steve Brown, who moved from the Ottumwa Job Corps Academy in Iowa to teach at Oneonta, explained that there are 16 students in each 16-week class, with three sessions held each year. In addition to the indoor and outdoor training areas with wooden poles, students now have access to the two newly unveiled telecommunication towers.
The graduates of the overhead line program at Oneonta Job Corps Academy are accredited in 20 different industries, giving them the opportunity to secure employment in fields such as electrical work, facility maintenance, urban forestry, and network cable installation. Many graduates choose to stay locally after completing the program.
The unveiling of these telecommunication towers marks a significant expansion of the training facilities at Oneonta Job Corps Academy and further enhances the opportunities available to their students in the field of telecommunications.