Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship is a system of education and training using a planned, closely supervised combination of hands-on, on-the-job training, and academic classroom-style education. City Light apprenticeships are paid positions designed to help those interested in skilled trades get the experience they need for a career in the electrical utility industry.

Apprenticeship programs are open to all candidates who meet our qualifications. Our goal is to have apprentices reflect the diversity of the greater Seattle area. We are dedicated to increasing the number of women and minorities in our apprenticeships while providing opportunities for all qualified applicants.

How It Works

Earn while you learn

Apprenticeships at City Light are full-time, paid positions, earning at least $34/hour to start, with wage step increases as you gain experience and knowledge. It also includes full medical, dental, and vision benefits offered to City of Seattle employees.

On the job training

As an apprentice, you work as a member of an assigned crew, under the supervision of journey-level workers. Crew assignments are rotated regularly to give you experience participating in hands-on training with equipment from your trade.

Classroom instruction

Apprentices attend evening academic classes to get more in-depth instruction on the theory and practice of their craft. You will attend a minimum of 144 hours of related academic instruction each year. Classes are held weekly, four hours per week from September – June, and include homework, projects, and test preparation.

Program completion and exams

After completion of required on-the-job training and classroom instruction, you will take City and Union required exams. If you successfully pass these exams you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion and become a journey-level employee.

Working With Us

It takes a community working together to deliver safe, affordable, reliable energy to homes and businesses. We work in close partnership with local contractors, developers, consultants and businesses to support economic development while ensuring projects are delivered on time and within budget.

Women and Minority Owned Businesses

City Light actively supports opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. We provide networking opportunities, conduct outreach, facilitate technical assistance, and encourage businesses to register using the Online Business Directory so they are supported in consulting and purchasing contract opportunities with the City of Seattle.

The City’s women-owned and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) program defines WMBE as state-certified or self-identified firms at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities. The WMBE program was created to break down long-standing historical barriers impacting women and minority businesses. In return, it strengthens our economy and our community, drives social change, and supports small businesses.

Transmission Services

City Light owns 653 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the Seattle area of the Pacific Northwest. Transmission lines move electricity more efficiently than lower-voltage distribution lines, which deliver power directly to customers. Our transmission lines are typically 230,000, or 115,000 volts.

We offer non-discriminatory access to our transmission system through our Open Access Transmission Tariff.

Our History

eattle is known for its early pioneering efforts in the use of electricity and was one of the first locations to manufacture lighting systems and have electrified street railways. City Light has been lighting up the greater Seattle area since 1910. Check out where it all started and how we evolved over time to become a clean energy and environmental leader.

1879 – Invention of Incandescent Light Bulb 

1886 – First Incandescent Lighting System 

  • Seattle Electric Light Company (a private company unaffiliated with City Light) launches the first incandescent lighting system west of the Rockies.

1900 – Multiple Seattle Electric Companies Consolidate 

  • With increasing adoption of alternating current technology which makes it possible to serve larger areas, competing companies get consolidated into the Seattle Electric Company (not affiliated with City Light). Rates at the time were six times greater than today’s current residential rate.

1902 – Approval of Bond to Develop First Hydroelectric Facility on the Cedar River 

  • A $590,000 bond was issued and marked the beginning of public power in Seattle and the nation’s first municipally owned hydro project.

1905 – Cedar Falls Generates Power Under Control of City Water Department 

  • Cedar Falls generates power, and because the plant performs well, the demand for municipal power increases.

1910 – Seattle City Light is Born 

  • As the demand for power grows, it rises so dramatically that the Seattle City Council decides to create a separate lighting department – Seattle City Light.

1911 – J.D. Ross Becomes Superintendent and Sets the Vision for the Future 

  • The new electric utility finds its future in the legendary James Delmage (J.D) Ross, often called the “Father of City Light.” Ross envisions the Skagit River harnessed for Seattle by a series of three dams.

1924 – City Light Dedicates its First Powerhouse

  • Ross works tirelessly before receiving the federal government’s go-ahead for the Skagit Project. A railroad is built to get to the site. President Coolidge presses an electric button in the White House and the Gorge Dam generators begin sending electricity to Seattle.

1951 – A Unified Power System is Formed within the City of Seattle

  • In 1951, Seattle voters approved buy-out of the privately owned competitors’ Seattle territory. Seattle at last had a unified power system under one utility.

1961 – Ross’ Vision for Three Powerhouses and Dams is Complete

  • Construction spanned four decades to build the Skagit Project. Today, these dams are still the heart of our water storage and generating facilities.

1967 – Boundary Powerhouse and Dam Begin Operations

  • After years of planning to meet anticipated demand for electricity, a larger hydro facility – the newly constructed Boundary Powerhouse and Dam – begins operation in eastern Washington.
  • Three factors begin to influence new directions for Seattle City Light: unprecedented demand, environmental concern, and drought.

1977 – Major Droughts Spur New Era of Conservation 

  • A major drought hits the area, with more ahead in the ’80s. Almost overnight, conservation becomes a high priority.
  • With funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, City Light launches a series of programs that makes the utility a national leader in conservation.

1980s – Focus is on Rate Stability and Diversity 

  • Regional power contracts bring new power from British Columbia, the Columbia Basin Irrigation Districts and the Olympic Peninsula. Regional ventures such as these not only control costs but reduce our dependence on power purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration.

1995 – Relicensing of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project 

  • Following many years of studies and negotiations, Seattle City Light achieves relicensing upon agreement with a diverse group of state, federal, tribal and environmental groups to help improve fisheries, wildlife, recreation, cultural resources and the visual environment near the Diablo, Gorge and Ross dams.

2005 – City Light Becomes the First Electric Utility in the Country to Achieve Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

  • City Light has maintained carbon neutral status every year since.
  • City Light achieves carbon neutrality by divesting ownership in a coal-fired plant and other fossil fuel projects, investing in renewables and increasing our long-standing energy efficiency programs.
  • For the remaining emissions that we are unable to eliminate from our operations, the utility invests in carbon offsets.

Present Day – City Light Looks to the Future of Energy 

  • City Light invests in Electric Vehicle infrastructure and Grid Modernization to plan for the future needs of Seattle City Light customers.

Mission, Vision, Values

Our mission, vision and values help to define and guide who we are, where we are going, and what is most important to focus on in the work we do every day.

Q Pre-Apprentice Lineworker

Our Pre-Apprentice Lineworker program offers paid, six-month training positions designed to help employees learn the skills needed to become apprentice lineworkers (trades worker who constructs and maintains electric power transmission and distribution lines). Instruction includes crew assistance and equipment preparation. Training includes physical workouts including climbing wooden poles and CDL training to obtain a Class "A" CDL.

To graduate into the Lineworker Apprenticeship Program, you must pass a set of physical capacity tests and a series of pole climbing tests. Graduates can then enter a 3 ½-year/7,000-hour Lineworker Apprenticeship learning to work with high voltage electrical equipment.

Q Cable Splicer

A Cable Splicer splices high voltage and power cables used in underground distribution and street lighting systems as a means to install, maintain and repair electrical wiring systems. This apprenticeship is a 4-year/8,000-hour program preparing you to locate and repair electrical faults underground in confined spaces.

You learn to splice, terminate, and maintain low and high voltage power cables in an underground network distribution system. You will also learn to install and maintain conductors, transformers, network protectors, relays, switches and related electrical equipment.

Q Electrician Constructor

An Electrician Constructor is responsible for the installation, maintenance, repair, and operation of City Light equipment and facilities. This apprenticeship is a 4-year/8,000-hour training program where you learn to work with high voltage electricity and provide service and maintenance to substations throughout City Light's distribution system.

Under the supervision of journey-level workers, you will perform work on transformers, conductors, circuit breakers, switches, protective devices, and cutouts. Apprentices work on poles, towers, and underground vaults performing physically demanding work in adverse weather conditions.

Q Generation Electrician Constructor

The Generation Electrician Constructor apprenticeship is a 4-year/8,000-hour program. You are assigned to the Boundary and Skagit hydroelectric facilities and will work with high voltage electricity and provide service and maintenance throughout City Light's distribution system.

Under the supervision of journey-level workers, you perform work on generators, install, troubleshoot and maintain the powerhouse operating systems, and will work on governors, protective devices, circuit breakers, disconnects, and transformers. You will assemble and disassemble heavy equipment associated with generation facilities and perform physically demanding work at heights, over water, and in confined spaces.

Q Hydroelectric Maintenance Machinist

The Hydroelectric Maintenance Machinist conduct preventive maintenance, overhauls and capital improvement projects of hydro-generators, turbines, and associated machinery located at City Light hydroelectric facilities. This is an 8,000-hour training program to become a journey level HEMM.

You will perform progressively complex and physically demanding work assignments such as maintaining and repairing equipment and machinery, analyzing and diagnosing problems, disassembling and machining unavailable parts.

Q Meter Electrician

Meter Electrician Apprentices work in residential, commercial, and industrial areas around City Light's distribution area on revenue meters. They also work on substation and generation metering. This apprenticeship is a 3-year/6,000-hour training program.

You will learn to install single and poly-phase meters, transformer-related meters, self-contained meters and instrument transformers. You also learn about lab and field test meters, automatic metering devices and substation and co-generation metering.

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