Two-year wait list for ACC’s utility tech

News File Photo Students in Alpena Community College’s utility technology program climb utility poles on campus in this January 2019 photo.

ALPENA — Students who want to take the climbing courses in the utility technology program at Alpena Community College will have to wait a little bit.

The climbing courses are filled already for the upcoming fall and next fall, at 60 students each.

“People are excited, they’re interested, they want to get into the field, they want to get into the trade, and we’re telling them they have to wait a little bit,” said Mike Kollien, ACC’s director of admissions. “We’re being very honest and upfront with people now, letting them know where they’re at, where they are.”

Kollien said students have the option to pursue a bachelor’s or associate degree while waiting to get into the utility tech program. Or they can complete a certificate program, he said.

“They can start a lot of the general education classes or some of those complementary electrical courses that go along with it and sort of get on the list and still be starting to take classes to get where you want to be,” Kollien said. “But it might just take a little bit longer for the foreseeable future.”

Kollien said college officials keep in touch with students on the wait list. A majority of them take classes while waiting to stay engaged academically, be in the college environment, and see the instructors, he said.

Utility Tech Instructor Roy Smith said the courseload is easier for students if they take classes while waiting, because, though the climbing courses can be completed in one year, a lot of hours are involved.

“Unfortunately, it’s not something you can do part-time, you almost have to be a full-time student,” Smith said.

Smith said taking courses while waiting would also help students get extra credentials. He said those interested shouldn’t be discouraged if they have to wait. He said they should apply and get on the wait list as soon as they can.

There are 25 high school juniors who have applied for the fall of 2020 and one high school sophomore who has applied already for the fall of 2021.

“We do use the date of application as one of the ways to determine the place in line, so, the sooner the better,” Kollien said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.