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Thread: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

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    Premium Conservative OVUS1's Avatar
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    Exclamation College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    NULCA just attended a meeting in Virginia with a majority of locating companies, several Operators, the State Corporation Commission, and Southside Virginia Community College to discuss the reality of a vocational course designed to train new locators and to re-train those that might be having issues.

    We are asking for your input as to what you would like to see taught in these classes. It was discussed that this should be more tuned to "basic training" so that all of the universal processes that we all live by are covered and that each individual company could provide additional "technical training" that is specific to their company after the tech graduates from the course.

    SVCC has a five acre area that has been set up with just about every utility because they also offer heavy equipment operation training (and several other vocational disciplines as well). They have built a new addition to the school that has computer labs and other classroom space for this program.

    NULCA would like your input as to the need for something like this. BTW, it's not just for Virginia. They would welcome technicians from anywhere and have low-cost housing available on-site. Don't sweat the cost, that will be handled in different ways. We need two things from you:

    First, do you think there is a need for this program? and
    Second, what would you like to see the program provide?
    Job Applicant: What does this job pay?
    Employer: I'm going to pay you just what you are worth!
    Job Applicant: I don't think I can work for that......

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    Senior Member phoenix827's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by OVUS1 View Post
    We need two things from you:

    First, do you think there is a need for this program? and
    Second, what would you like to see the program provide?
    YES!! And I think the utilities should cover part of the cost, AS WELL as send THEIR people and subs as well!
    As for the course, basic locating, LOTS OF PRINT READING!, 12 steps, hookups, grounding, a REAL cert. course and THEN an advanced class, box dropping in congested areas, BASIC cheats, (clip, c-clamp, etc) intuition, etc

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    would big companies respect the schooling? if so then yes it is needed
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member phoenix827's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Good point Yahoo

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Unless locators unionize, educating and adding more will create ongoing less and less compensation... As if that doesnt exist already...

    So the school for locators- good for the owners, disaster for locators...

    Luckily, Im on the tail end of work years... I feel for future workers with the oncoming glut of overpopulated workforce competition, and what crow they will eat to get by...


    Last edited by USIC1; July 3rd, 2009 at 09:34 AM.

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    Premium Conservative OVUS1's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by USIC1 View Post
    Unless locators unionize, too many will be chasing less and less compensation... As if that doesnt exist now...

    Then again, the next generation of educated latino immigrants will infiltrate this sheltered industry, all the newly acquired reading and writing skills, this developing work for peanuts industry, will be a huge attraction...

    So the school for locators- good for the owners, disaster for locators...

    Luckily, Im on the tail end of work years, I feel for the future of workers with the oncoming glut of overpopulated workforce competition, and what crow they will eat to get by...


    Careful USIC1. I asked for a response to two questions - and they were simple enough even for you. It is not constructive for you to come into this forum and continue your rants. If you want to answer those questions please do, but take the other spew/rhetoric to another forum. Try speaking for yourself as you definitely don't speak for the community.
    Job Applicant: What does this job pay?
    Employer: I'm going to pay you just what you are worth!
    Job Applicant: I don't think I can work for that......

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Yeah I did edit it...

    Before you posted your rebuttal...

    It was a little edgy...

    PS theres always the ignore option...
    Last edited by USIC1; July 3rd, 2009 at 09:59 AM.

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by OVUS1 View Post
    First, do you think there is a need for this program? and
    Second, what would you like to see the program provide?
    I think there is a need for this program, but you have to be careful who you let set the standards and program content.

    I think there needs to be focus on installation problems that cause locate problems: explain exactly what they are, why they cause the specific problem, and what can be done, if anything, to work around the problem.

    I think perhaps there should be 2 levels to the program. After all who really wants newbies to be using cheats/shortcuts before they have the proper experience to know when they are appropriate and if they could actually be detrimental to the situation.

    The second level should be for techs who are moving on to higher skill levels. They have experience, they have an interest in being possibly more than just a high ticket rate locate tech, with a strong focus on damage prevention, damage investigation and trouble-shooting, support for difficult locates.

    I think whoever builds the curriculum should focus on all utilities, not focusing on only one industry. I'm tired of guys who were never taught how to tell that they were marking gas, power, streetlights, h2o, instead of telco and cable.

    I think that much of the program should be in the field teaching by experience.

    Any of this would be nice, but without a national standard, it's pretty worthless. IMHO

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by OVUS1 View Post
    NULCA just attended a meeting in Virginia with a majority of locating companies, several Operators, the State Corporation Commission, and Southside Virginia Community College to discuss the reality of a vocational course designed to train new locators and to re-train those that might be having issues.

    We are asking for your input as to what you would like to see taught in these classes. It was discussed that this should be more tuned to "basic training" so that all of the universal processes that we all live by are covered and that each individual company could provide additional "technical training" that is specific to their company after the tech graduates from the course.

    SVCC has a five acre area that has been set up with just about every utility because they also offer heavy equipment operation training (and several other vocational disciplines as well). They have built a new addition to the school that has computer labs and other classroom space for this program.

    NULCA would like your input as to the need for something like this. BTW, it's not just for Virginia. They would welcome technicians from anywhere and have low-cost housing available on-site. Don't sweat the cost, that will be handled in different ways. We need two things from you:

    First, do you think there is a need for this program? and
    Second, what would you like to see the program provide?

    John, where is SVCC located?
    There is definitely a need for such a program here on the East coast
    It should teach all principles including all of those associated specifically with SUE including Survey, GPR and Vac-Ex.
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    Senior Member RD_Wrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by OVUS1 View Post
    NULCA just attended a meeting in Virginia with a majority of locating companies, several Operators, the State Corporation Commission, and Southside Virginia Community College to discuss the reality of a vocational course designed to train new locators and to re-train those that might be having issues.

    We are asking for your input as to what you would like to see taught in these classes. It was discussed that this should be more tuned to "basic training" so that all of the universal processes that we all live by are covered and that each individual company could provide additional "technical training" that is specific to their company after the tech graduates from the course.

    SVCC has a five acre area that has been set up with just about every utility because they also offer heavy equipment operation training (and several other vocational disciplines as well). They have built a new addition to the school that has computer labs and other classroom space for this program.

    NULCA would like your input as to the need for something like this. BTW, it's not just for Virginia. They would welcome technicians from anywhere and have low-cost housing available on-site. Don't sweat the cost, that will be handled in different ways. We need two things from you:

    First, do you think there is a need for this program? and
    Second, what would you like to see the program provide?

    I believe the is a most definite need for this, and though I saw it more as a Vocational Education type program, this is a step in the right direction.

    As far as the program is concerned, I always thought the field (locating) needed to be structured and educated in much the same way other skilled-trade fields were organised. The education should be broken into steps, with the labels of these steps outlining the skills obtained, and what technicians are legally able to perform in the public arena.

    For instance :

    Locator Apprentice/Trainee - schooled in basic locating techniques (equipment operation, direct connection, coupler induction, peak/null/sweeps, etc) utility plant basics (how they are generally installed, how they operate, access points, etc.), print, platte, and map reading, and a basic understanding of the actual science behind locating (Circuits, ground path return, electromagnetic theory, capacitance, etc.). Each area of study would require an evaluation test (both paper and field), with a final test encompassing all parts. NO unsupervised/non-audited HP locating!

    Journeyman Locator (Level 1) - minimum 6 mos. in the field and 4 weeks ride with a mentor (minimum Journeyman Level 2), additional schooling in Locating Theory, and introduction to HP locating, trouble-shooting, etc. Again with evaluations to be passed.

    Journeyman Locator (Level 2) - minimum 2 years in the field, advanced studies in Locating Theory, induction principles, advanced trouble-shooting, etc. Again with evaluations to be passed.

    Master Locator - minimum 5 years in the field and 1 year as a "Lead" or "Supervisor", further advanced understanding of Locate Theory, trouble-shooting, etc...

    Kind of a rough out-line I know, and would definitely need to be tweaked to include quality performance, experience with different utilities, locating equipment, and aspect of the industry involved. Maybe endorsements on license listing equipment, utilities, and additional skills qualified for, including GPR, Vac, etc....

    Technicians already in the field could test out of courses/levels, attaining whichever title/level they are qualified for, based on evaluation of their current skills, knowledge, and time in the field.

    On a side note, I don't think a Crew Supervisor should be anything less than a Journeyman Level 2, much as an Electrician can't be a Contractor or manage employees until a certain time limit and skill-level has been reached. The same should be required before managing a team of locate technicians.

    The next logical step is for it to become national REQUIREMENT and not just a standard (ie: Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC techs, Natural Gas Techs, etc.). When that happens the wage level will INCREASE for Techs, as opposed to drop, as some would like to think. A licensed technician, able to pass the required skill tests, would be far more valuable wage-wise, especially if companies were required to have them.

    hmmmm....I need to send this stuff to OSHA as well...
    Last edited by RD_Wrangler; July 3rd, 2009 at 07:08 PM.
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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    these answers from these guys are so well thought out !!! if we are all this powerfully educated then in the end we would be worth alot more money............................................. .........................................and that's what companies don't want to pay more of!!!!!!! big companies like ver. and att!!!!! if we get that educated they will be better off just paying their own guys the money they would otherwise have to give our companies!!!! i agree with more education but with that comes more responsibility
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    i'm thinking more education is going to cause more problems down the road for some of us.....i 'm sure i'll be proved wrong that is why this is just an opinion
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    i'm thinking more education is going to cause more problems down the road for some of us.....i 'm sure i'll be proved wrong that is why this is just an opinion
    Yahoo, there is never, never, never, anything wrong with getting a better education.
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    these answers from these guys are so well thought out !!! if we are all this powerfully educated then in the end we would be worth alot more money............................................. .........................................and that's what companies don't want to pay more of!!!!!!! big companies like ver. and att!!!!! if we get that educated they will be better off just paying their own guys the money they would otherwise have to give our companies!!!! i agree with more education but with that comes more responsibility
    This is where the REQUIRED licensing comes in yahoo. Regardless of whether a Utility contracts out or does in-house, the locators would have to be rated and certified. Either way Locator Techs win. Pulling the locates back in-house wouldn't negate the need for a certified Locator, nor would it eliminate our positions, we'd just have to change companies and work in-house.

    Not that I believe that would ever happen. The cost saved in not paying for in-house technician bennies or eating at-fault damages, would be incentive enough for Utility Owners to contract out. Contract Locate companies would just be forced to compete fairly for bids, since cut-throat bidding would be impossible if they were required to hire certified techs (and pay them accordingly) and couldn't simply hire "warm bodies" to throw in the field with little or no training.
    Last edited by RD_Wrangler; July 4th, 2009 at 09:13 AM.
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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Accredited Locator School In Virginia!

    Quote Originally Posted by RD_Wrangler View Post
    This is where the REQUIRED licensing comes in yahoo. Regardless of whether a Utility contracts out or does in-house, the locators would have to be rated and certified. Either way Locator Techs win. Pulling the locates back in-house wouldn't negate the need for a certified Locator, nor would it eliminate our positions, we'd just have to change companies and work in-house.

    Not that I believe that would ever happen. The cost saved in not paying for in-house technician bennies or eating at-fault damages, would be incentive enough for Utility Owners to contract out. Contract Locate companies would just be forced to compete fairly for bids, since cut-throat bidding would be impossible if they were required to hire certified techs (and pay them accordingly) and couldn't simply hire "warm bodies" to throw in the field with little or no training.
    RD, listen to yourself - if all locators start to make more money because of Certification requirements the companies have to raise their rates. Where do these rates cross the line where utility owners take back the locating in-house? Our last in-house locators here in DFW were making less than $16 per hr and were CWA members. The other problem is that most utilities have several hundred other workers per each locator needed so the Locators will never be that important, especially to Unions or upper-management. We are non-revenue producers as in-house employees and our contibutions, as far as damage reducers/preventers are difficult to account for and are only highlighted occasionally when extremely large damage claims are collected from a contractor.
    Training, education, continuing education are all good ideas but don't expect significant monetary gains for Locators because of them.
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