The company that operates the transmission and distribution system continues to make steady progress in developing the next generation of electrical grid professionals

Canóvanas, Puerto Rico, May 2, 2024 – Today, LUMA kicked off its first Week of Educational Development with the Lineworker Rodeo at the LUMA College campus in Canóvanas. The rodeo, a signature and premier event in the global electrical industry, provides a unique opportunity for apprentices to showcase the skills they have developed over the past 13 weeks in the Utility Lineworker Program (ULP).

For many students, their journey through LUMA College’s educational programs represents professional growth and personal achievement, as well as an opportunity to serve Puerto Rico by supporting the transformation of the electrical grid. Upon completion of their studies, which can take approximately three and a half years, students finish the program with a solid and promising career with LUMA as a Journeyman Lineman, the highest rank recognized by the Department of Labor (DOL). “The education we provide to our students and future lineworkers in Puerto Rico is based on the best practices in the global industry. The educational programs offered by LUMA College empower a diverse and highly skilled workforce to rebuild our island’s electrical system,” said Juan Vargas, LUMA College President. “Thanks to their commitment, the future of the electrical grid is in good hands.

LUMA College’s educational model uses three phases of learning: skill, behavior, and knowledge. The program also gives them the opportunity to take on leadership roles within their class by electing a class president and vice president, forming safety committees, and organizing assignments. “It’s an incredible honor for us to be able to achieve our goals in this program and show our families what we’re capable of at this rodeo,” said Miguel Hernández Rodríguez, vice president of LUMA College’s current class consisting of 31 Puerto Ricans. “There’s no doubt that building a career in the utility industry for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico is a privilege and a great responsibility that fills us all with pride and motivates us to do more every day”, he added.

LUMA College: Training Future Lineworkers

The current class of pre-apprentices will celebrate their graduation and promotion to registered apprentices on Friday, setting them on a nearly three-year journey that will transform their lives and prepare them to work with each area of the electrical system. LUMA College has five (5) Puerto Rican instructors with extensive experience in the energy industry.  

As part of LUMA College’s 13-week program, graduates acquired the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to join LUMA’s workforce as qualified lineworker apprentices. This is the sixth class to complete the Utility Lineworker Program. The graduating class consisted of 31 students, including three women. LUMA’s Utility Lineworker Program is distinguished by its commitment to diversity and inclusion, achieving the highest diversity rate among U.S. jurisdictions at 9%. This program currently has 181 apprentices, including 17 women, representing LUMA’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in its workforce. “Here, we all have the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve. We have seen how other women have gone through this program and are already working in the field, and that motivates us to keep going forward,” said Neisha Balay, one of the three students in this class who has overcome many challenges to achieve her goals. “It hasn’t been easy. It’s hard, but not impossible, and this is very rewarding because we’re putting our hearts into the work with a clear goal: to serve Puerto Rico,” she pointed out.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of women in the utility industry is less than 20%. At LUMA, 28% of our workforce is composed of women. 133 of them hold key leadership positions. Also, 175 women hold operational field positions, such as field workers, lineworkers, supervisors, low voltage workers, regional managers, aviation administrators, and other positions that were traditionally held by men.

Talent Development Through Apprenticeship Programs

The development of professionals is not limited to lineworker apprentices. LUMA has various apprenticeship programs, which offer a unique opportunity for its employees to continue gaining hands-on experience and valuable skills in the electrical industry.

“At LUMA, we strongly believe professional development is an ongoing commitment that goes beyond the initial career phases. Our diverse apprenticeship programs allow our employees to gain practical experience and key skills in the energy sector. We are proud to welcome students from across the island, including Vieques and Culebra, as well as women and young people committed to contributing to the transformation of Puerto Rico,” said José J. Reyes, LUMA’s Chief Corporate Services Officer.

LUMA’s apprenticeship programs integrate hands-on experience with classroom learning, covering topics like cybersecurity, workplace safety enhancements, substation operations, low voltage, and underground systems, among other areas. These efforts strengthen the workforce, improving customer service and the reliability of the electrical system as part of the company’s commitment to the continuous development of its team. LUMA has over 250 employees participating in various training programs.

LUMA’s Week of Educational Development celebrates the commitment to the ongoing education of students and employees in the energy field. Through training programs, student internships in multiple career fields, and courses offered at LUMA College, the company reaffirms its dedication to developing and educating a workforce that works in Puerto Rico, for Puerto Rico. LUMA promotes professional growth and continuous training, highlighting the value of education in advancing and sustaining the energy sector on the island. 

About LUMA

LUMA is a Puerto Rican company that, since June 1, 2021, operates and manages the electric power transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico. LUMA is a company driven by a mission to transform the electrical transmission and distribution system to provide all Puerto Ricans with the reliable, resilient, clean, and affordable electrical service they deserve. As a customer-centric company, LUMA’s entire workforce of more than 4,500 employees is focused on safely delivering an exceptional customer service experience to its 1.5 million customers.

About LUMA College for Technical Training

LUMA College for Technical Training provides industry-leading educational opportunities for companies and individualsin charge of rebuilding electric power infrastructure in Puerto Rico. It is fully funded by Quanta Services and ATCO’s commitment to a sustainable Puerto Rican workforce. LUMA College has a contract with Northwest Lineman College (NLC) for curriculum, study plans, and other related services. Since 1993, Northwest Lineman College has grown to nearly 300 employees with four campuses across the United States, where it trains more than 8,000 individuals each year, and has a network of more than 1,000 employers. LCTT is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs).