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First class of women set to be certified as utility linemen

August 17, 2010 |  5:10 pm

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In a yard of 35-foot utility poles in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, 22 women went through the final certification tests in the first all-female utility lineman class at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

The school has offered the class since 2008, but only two women enrolled in that time. With help from a $1-million Clean Energy Workforce grant, the school was able to offer a free course for women only, according to Leticia Barajas, dean of Academic Affairs.

The students range in age from 20 to 45. One is homeless, Barajas said.

At the close of the 600-hour, 11-week course, they are tested in climbing skill, safety precautions, equipment knowledge and other skills, said instructor Ken Bushman.

After their graduation ceremony Friday, the women will change into their work clothes and give a climbing demonstration for friends and family.

-- Bryan Chan

Photo: Rita Romero, left, and Bridgett Gonzales practice pole-climbing at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

More photos: Women on the line

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