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Spokane Community College and Avista Utilities have formed a unique partnership with the goal of introducing people to the demanding field of utility construction. This introductory course is open to individuals interested in entry-level positions leading to career positions in the line or gas craft.
Through classroom and field training, participants will be introduced to a variety of knowledge and skills which are essential to the trade.
The utility construction school is held at Avista's training facility. The facility features three fully-equipped classrooms with an on-site shop that houses various types of equipment used for training seminars. The 10-acre utility construction site is equipped with a variety of construction set-ups designed to provide a high-quality training environment. Hundreds of apprenticeships and journey-level workers from utilities and construction companies have benefited from our training facilities and programs.
The Utility Construction trade requires an extreme physical fitness level, hard work, and commitment both mentally and physically. Students must be able to work under pressure and make quick, sound decisions. The trade sounds fun and looks cool, but it is extremely dangerous. Lineworkers put their lives and the lives of their coworkers on the line every day.
This program will assist you in obtaining a Class A CDL, First Aid/CPR card, Flagging Traffic Control card, and Forklift certification. These are NOT required for acceptance into the program.
This is NOT your typical college course. Students are expected to be in class every day just as they would be present at a job site. Tardiness and absenteeism are NOT tolerated. The class is very fast-paced, and missing one day or partial days puts a student too far behind in course work to catch up. Training is four months (78 days, 616 hours instruction time) divided into three steps. The course runs Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with academic and skills training. Homework will be assigned. Testing and certifications may require some evening and/or weekend scheduling.
Participants learn the skills required of a gas crew helper including how to excavate around buried utilities, install polyethylene gas pipeline, pipeline fittings, locate wire, and residential gas meters and regulators in addition to learning to use the various tools and equipment of the trade though actual field experience. Classroom training covers safety, electrical theory, fundamentals of heating gases that range from natural gas to propane, trenching and shoring requirements, locating of underground pipeline, and the importance of attitude and integrity necessary to succeed in today’s work environment.
Participants learn the skills required of a line crew helper including how to set and climb poles, install cross-arms, hardware, lines and transformers in addition to learning to use the various tools and equipment of the trade through actual field experience. Classroom training covers safety, electrical theory, transformers, switching, print reading, and the importance of attitude and teamwork necessary to succeed in today’s work environment.
Attending and completing this program does not guarantee any type of employment, nor does it guarantee employment with Avista. There are more opportunities are applicants who are willing and prepared for travel outside the Northwest. Many employment opportunities exist with gas utilities throughout the country as entry-level crew helper or apprentice gas worker. We prepare our students with interviewing skills and multiple employer contacts.
The admissions process for the Avista Utility Construction program has several steps.
If you are accepted into the program, the school will make arrangements for your enrollment with Spokane Community College. Enrollment cannot be made with the college until you have been accepted by the Utility Construction School.
Acceptance into the Avista Pre-Apprenticeship program is not done on a first-come, first-served basis: rather, it is based on a competitive list. Acceptance is based on the results of your math test and your interview with Avista. Avista will accept a limited number of students for each term out of approximately 100-150 applicants. Classes begin spring and fall quarters. Avista will notify each applicant of his/her acceptance into the program within five days of testing and interviewing.
Students accepted into the Utility Construction course are required to pass a drug screen prior to the start of class and put in a random drug pool during the class. Students who test positive or diluted are immediately removed from the class and will not be allowed to return. Students testing positive or diluted will not receive a tuition refund. If you cannot pass a drug screen, do not apply for this program.
To learn more about the admission requirements and the admission process, visit our admissions page.
The Avista Utility Construction program requires you to purchase a variety of tools and supplies. Tools are offered at a discount from supporting vendors at the time of registration. You can usually get a better price there. Proper body belt sizing and fitting are very important and are done at registration. If you have your own tools, they must be inspected by an instructor at registration to ensure they meet safety standards. To learn more about the program's tuition, fees, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, visit our Tuition & Costs page.
UTIL 101 — Utility Construction I — 11.0
This course introduces students to the utility construction basics. Safety training and fundamentals of electricity are emphasized. The safe Operation of a variety of equipment is covered. View SCC Course Learning Outcomes
UTIL 102 — Utility Construction II — 11.0
This course continues with the concepts introduced in UTIL 101. Demonstrating appropriate safety techniques is emphasized. Applying electrical principles and theories, interpretation of job prints and standards and radio communications is stressed. View SCC Course Learning Outcomes
UTIL 103 — Gas or Line Construction — 21.0
This course continues with advanced concepts in utility construction either gas or line construction. Advanced concepts in electricity and interpretation of job prints and standards are emphasized. Certifications and CDL License, Class A earned. View SCC Course Learning Outcomes