The New Blue Collar Worker – Part 2

Blue Collar Worker 2

Blue-colŸlar                        adj                  ˈblü-ˈkä-lər

Definition of BLUE-COLLAR

1: of, relating to, or constituting the class of wage earners whose duties call for the wearing of work clothes or protective clothing — compare white-collar.

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of blue collar refers to particular clothing that a worker wears. In The New Blue Collar Worker – Part 1, we started looking at a new way to define “blue collar,” based on Forbes’ list of the 20 High-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs. It lists the number one job with a six-figure salary (based on facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you still have clothing in mind when you hear the term “blue collar,” think Chanel, Versace, or Burberry. Get the picture?

In part two, we will look at more jobs on Forbes’ list that begin with an education through programs offered right here at Dakota County Technical College.

The Energy Technical Specialist associate degree (A.A.S.) program was recently developed from a U.S. Department of Labor High Growth Job Training Initiative Grant. Through the program, students gain knowledge in the field of energy technology, specific to electrical and mechanical maintenance performed inside utility power plants, explained Gordon Gibis, DCTC Energy Technical Specialist instructor. ETSA directly relates to the number two career, Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay.

This line of work is the first step in delivering electricity to consumers. DCTC’s ETSA program prepares students for work in a variety of industries in renewable energy, to include coal, wind turbine, and solar energy. In Minnesota alone, job openings are expected to increase 24 percent by 2019 (Department of Employment and Economic Development). Could it be because Minnesota is among the top states in wind power generation?

Energy Technical Specialist–Nuclear
  • No. 2 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay
  • No. 4 Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
  • No. 20 Millwright
  • Annual Pay for Top 10 percent: $72,800–$87,560

Under the umbrella of renewable energy is also number four, Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers. Someone in this profession operates or controls petroleum refining or processing units. You may not associate Minnesota with oil refineries but we are actually home to two of them.

Right next door to DCTC is Pine Bend Refinery. It is notably the largest oil refinery in the country that is located in a state without any oil wells. Pine Bend pumps out a whopping 265,000 barrels per day.

Millwright, number 20 on Forbes’ list, can be described as someone who maintains or constructs industrial machinery. They move and align heavy, large equipment and motors in factories, power plants, and construction sites. To do this, they need to be well-versed in hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanics, and reading blueprints, which together make up a majority of the ETSA curriculum.

According to O*NET Resource Center, most Millwright occupations require training through a school or an associate degree. For those who want to stay close-by, the Twin Cities is among the top 10 highestemployment areas and St. Cloud, Minn., is in the top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the country. Go to Northeast Minnesota and you will be in the top three highest employment, highest concentration of jobs, and top paying nonmetropolitan areas in the U.S. See the facts for yourself.

For more information about the Energy Technical Specialist program at DCTC, contact:
  • Gordon Gibis
    Energy Technical SpecialistNuclear Instructor
    651-423-8459
Electrical LineworkerElectrical Lineworker
  • No. 5 Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
  • Annual Pay for Top 10 percent: $85,340–$87,460

The Electrical Lineworker program relates directly to number five, Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers. What do they do? BLS tells us they “install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.”

Lineworkers get extensive hands-on experience building power lines, right in DCTC’s backyard. They take the electrical power industry to new heights, literally.

For more information about the Electrical Lineworker program at DCTC, contact:
  • Steve Addy
    Electrical Lineworker Instructor
    651-423-8252
Networking AdministrationNetworking Administration
  • No. 14 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers
  • Annual Pay for Top 10 percent: $73,890

While lineworkers are scaling poles outside, telecommunications equipment installers and repairers are installing telecommunications and computer systems inside. Also known as telecom technicians, they work with equipment that carries vast amounts of information in offices and homes. If you’ve had a problem with your Internet or telephone service, whether hard at work or surfing the web at home, a telecom technician may have visited you to fix it.

DCTC’s Networking Administration program is a unique blend of courses that provides networking, programming and management skills for the Internet-side of the telecom technician profession.

For more information about the Networking Administration program at DCTC, contact:
  • Nathan Blommel
    Information Systems Technology Instructor
    651-423-8616
  • Betty Krueger
    Information Systems Technology Instructor
    651-423-8560

The list doesn’t end there. Three more DCTC programs make Forbes’ 20 High-Paying Blue Collar Jobs list.

So far, we looked at Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, which provides the basics for:

  • No. 1 Elevator Installers and Repairers

  • No. 2 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay

  • No. 11 Signal and Track Switch Repairers

  • No. 13 Electricians

  • No. 14 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers

  • No. 15 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment

Energy Technical Specialist–Nuclear:

  • No. 2 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay

  • No. 4 Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers

  • No. 20 Millwright 

Electrical Lineworker:

  • No. 5 Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Networking Administration:

  • No. 14 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers

In The New Blue Collar Worker – Part 3, we will explore Railroad Conductor Technology, Heavy Duty Truck Technology, and Concrete and Masonry. That’s right, all on Forbes’ 20 High-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs list.