Texas State Technical College Electrical Lineworker Technology alum Cole Macek climbed to great heights to gain a new career.
Macek graduated in 2018 with a certificate from the Electrical Lineworker Technology program and is now employed as a lineman apprentice with Jackson Electric Cooperative.
“I met individuals from Jackson Electric while I was in the program. We stayed in contact, and they hired me upon graduating,” he said. “It was a relief because when I got out of the military, I had no idea what I was going to do. And TSTC helped me find a new purpose.”
The 24-year-old served in the U.S. Army for four years. He was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, and in Germany and Korea overseas.
“I joined the military straight out of high school,” said the Nada, Texas, native. “I enjoyed serving my country. But I was ready to settle down, and I knew my best bet was to gain skills in a trade.”
Although Macek said he would serve again in a heartbeat and at times he misses military life, he has no regrets and is glad he found TSTC.
“The military-to-civilian transition was quite a challenge,” said Macek. “But TSTC’s Veterans Center, staff and instructors were helpful and great resources of information that eased the transition.”
Macek said his first career choice was diesel mechanics because he had experience with it while in the Army, but after learning about the Electrical Lineworker program while touring TSTC, that changed.
“I love working with my hands, being challenged and climbing high,” he said. “Those reasons are why I changed my mind. I always knew a traditional college experience wasn’t for me, and this was going to be anything but traditional.”
He said his experience in the program was excellent. From the hands-on training to his instructors, the program was a guiding force toward his successful career.
“Our instructors always made sure we understood all of the basic foundations and safety concepts of the industry,” said Macek. “It was the hands-on training, though, that made all of the difference for me and really prepared me to enter the workforce.”
Macek added that he has always been a shy person, and it was TSTC that set him on the right track and gave him confidence in his skills and himself to enter the workforce.
Now Macek can be found climbing high in rain or shine, heat or cold, repairing and rebuilding electrical poles and setting up or exchanging electrical wiring.
“In this field there is no break, but it is so rewarding,” he said. “I can see myself doing this for at least the next three decades — although it would be interesting to see if I could still climb a pole at 70.”
The TSTC alumnus said he is going to keep working hard, making money and gaining experience to someday become a team leader or manager, or open his own company.
And now, with what Macek calls a great starting salary and benefits package, he can achieve his first goal: purchasing his first home.
“My goal when I left the military and returned to school was to find a job and financial security, and I found it,” he said. “I’m officially ready to settle down and buy a house I can call my home.”
Electrical Lineworker Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Marshall and Waco campuses.
TSTC is diligently working to produce highly skilled power line installers and repairers, the need for which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will grow eight percent by 2026, with an estimated 18,000 positions to be filled.