First Female Graduate Headlines Austin Energy Climbing School Celebration

May 2, 2023

Cherie Rene Cheramie became the first woman to graduate Austin Energy Climbing School, joining 10 other trainees as they completed their first step in joining Austin Energy field crews. Climbing School Graduation is the culmination of a three-week training for Austin Energy’s new Distribution Electrician Helpers and marks the official start of a four-year apprenticeship.

Family, field crews and other Austin Energy staff celebrated the graduation with a certification ceremony at the Decker Creek Power Station, highlighted by graduates each climbing a 70-foot “confidence pole.”

“Our lineworkers are the lifeblood of Austin Energy and are crucially important in keeping the energy flowing to our community,” said Elton Richards, vice president of field operations. “I’m humbled and proud of this diverse class of selfless individuals that choose this work and look forward to their continued education with our field crews.”

Cheramie, 30, a Marine Corps veteran, started her education in the lineworker program at Texas State Technical College at Waco before joining Austin Energy. She says that she loves the challenge of the job and serving her community.

“Being a lineworker was a perfect fit for me, especially at Austin Energy, because I value both providing electrical service to the community and a high priority on safety,” Cheramie said. “This opportunity keeps me motivated to be the best I can be and to love what I do.”

Access pictures of 2023 Climbing School here.

To learn more about the lineworker program, contact

About the Austin Energy Climbing School

Apprentice lineworkers undergo a three-week training process designed to introduce the fundamental aspects of line work. The training is a combination of formal classroom work and field instruction that focuses on three areas:

  • Week 1: Correct pole-climbing technique and learning how to climb power poles safely.
  • Week 2: Correct construction techniques and learning Austin Energy Distribution Construction Standards.
  • Week 3: Bucket truck rescue, manhole and pole-top rescue training.

After passing climbing school, the apprentices will be assigned to a crew and continue learning in the field for about four years before becoming Journey Level Lineworkers.

About Austin Energy

Customer Driven. Community Focused.

Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 500,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents in Greater Austin. The utility’s mission — to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service — has guided Austin Energy in powering the community and supporting the region’s growth since 1895. For more information about Austin Energy, visit