Youth corps member Brandi House was one of the first to step up to the power line at Sacramento’s SMUD Power Academy on a warm mid-July morning. Using a long, orange pole called a “shotgun,” House received instructions on the exacting process of how to de-energize a transformer.
“You got the eye right there with the shotgun,” SMUD lineman apprentice Justin Ramirez patiently told House, who intently followed instructions. “Stick it up a little bit and then you turn to the left and it opens the jaw and pops open.”
It took a couple of tries, but House got the job done, amid claps and cheers from the rest of the group.
The transformer lesson was one of the several hands-on training activities House, and eight other members of a new youth jobs corps program, #CaliforniansForAll Youth Job Corps, gained from SMUD staff that day.