ASPA revives Pacific Lineman Training program
This past Monday, the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) began a three-week Pacific Lineman Training (PLT) program, and it is being conducted by Certified PLT Instructor and former resident Harry Speicher.
The program, according to ASPA, is training 12 ASPA workers, who will be covering areas such as distribution of power through transformers and underground; live work and safety among other things.
Those who successfully complete the program will receive the United States Department of Labor certification, certifying them to perform line-work in the Pacific. The workers in the program are existing workers from ASPA’s Transmission and Development Division who had to go through a selection process to be chosen for the specialized training.
According to Speicher, the Pacific Lineman Training was started and created with ASPA back in 2000 as a course that was comparable to the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee that is certified from the United States. “The lineman in this training will go through a session of 6-8 classes over the next few years and become certified Journeyman Linemen through the Department of Labor,” he told Samoa News.
Speicher said that he had begun teaching the program in 2000, but it was in 2005 when the PLT program was stopped. He was at the end of his contract in 2007, but ASPA Executive Director Utu Abe Malae got him started with Lineman training in other islands. He has since worked in places such as the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Marshall Islands, where he is currently working. The program is now being revived in the territory, he said, adding that he has done this training for several years.
“The training that these workers will go through involves 6-8 three-week classes, that usually go over about a two-year period, but because I work everywhere in the Pacific, I try and get back to American Samoa about every three months to continue their training. It is mandated they receive 2,000 hours of ‘On the Job training’—which they get here at ASPA and another 640 hours of classroom theory that I provide to them also,” he said.
Nine of the trainees are from Tutuila, one is from Aunu’u; the Manu’a Islands are represented by one from Ofu and another from Faleasao.
According to ASPA Operations Apprentice Program coordinator, Misirita Matagi, ASPA’s own Tau Maugalei, Foreman (PM Secondary) is the assistant instructor for the PLT training, and “Tau is one of the success stories of ASPA’s efforts to promote the U.S. certified program.”
The training does not require that the PLT trainees travel off island, and is funded mostly through a federal grant.
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