Employers Give TCTC Students An Edge In Electrical Program – Business Journal Daily


CHAMPION HEIGHTS, Ohio — High school student Blaine Spitler sees plenty of opportunities in electrical technology.

Spitler is part of the Trumbull Career and Technical Centerelectrical technology program that works with area businesses to provide classroom and on-the-job training. He aspires to continue his studies at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics to become an aircraft technician.

“There are so many opportunities and I feel like there are more and more of them,” he says.

Spitler is currently working for Ajax Tocco Magnetothermal of Warren. The company offered to pay for his tuition at Youngstown State University if he works 40 hours a week and attends evening classes.

“I could choose one or the other, earn a good living and be happy,” he said.

Partnerships with employers in the region such as Ajax, as well as VEC inc., REM Electronics and HEXPOL Burton enable TCTC to enhance the experience of their students, says Nathan Berry, Career Development and Workplace Learning Coordinator. The Electrical Technology program currently has 12 students enrolled, who are learning basic safety and electrical training in school as well as on-the-job training.

“There is an apprenticeship agreement that the instructor provides to the company to bring students up to the state standards required for the electrical technology program,” says Berry.

TCTC Electrical Technology Instructor Mark Taylor contacts employers at least once every two weeks to check on the status of his students, who spend part of their school day working at these companies. Industry professionals who own electrical companies or fire alarm companies come to class to evaluate students’ wiring work.

“It’s a three-way win for me,” Taylor said. “It’s a win for me because I can hear what the industry needs me to teach them. Students hear criticism from someone else they might actually get a job with, and they can shine — making sure they get their feathers in their cap in their time. And an employer can see potential employees.

Sophia McElroy knew she wanted to be an electrician from a young age. She followed her father at the age of 6, passionate about wiring, installation and all facets of the electrician’s job.

Young McElroy took apart machines, televisions or any other electronic device she could to figure out how to make it work again. She also helped her grandfather with electrical wiring when updating foreclosed homes.

“It was so cool to be able to fix everything behind the scenes and make everything else work – the really tiny things that most people wouldn’t think twice about what’s in there,” McElroy says. “I thought it was just fascinating to be able to try to make things work.”

Some of Taylor’s students entered the workforce, while others eventually became apprentices in a local union. This is after they learned the basic electrical skills of stripping and terminating wires, and understanding wire and ladder diagrams.

Graduates of the TCTC program can pursue jobs such as Fire Alarm Apprentice, LED Lighting Installer, Entry-Level Robotics Technician, or Commercial Apprentice.

Students pursuing apprenticeships, associate degrees, advanced certifications, or experience may be journeyman residential electricians, powerline workers, electrical inspectors, or commercial electricians.

Meanwhile, those with a bachelor’s, master’s, or specialized training can be an electrical engineer, electrical contractor, electrical project manager, master electrician, or electronics engineer.

“In the electrical field, there are so many different aspects,” Taylor says. “You can go so many different ways.”

Taylor hopes students will leave his program as a safety-conscious worker, especially after completing 30 hours of training in occupational safety and health administration. His class is one of two at the TCTC that offers this classification, but is three times the normal safety education, he says.

“It gives my students a leg up on others when it comes to finding a job,” he says.

He said 20% of his students entered the military for electrical work, while others attended colleges or the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. Three of his students graduated last month.

“All three had jobs the next day,” Taylor says.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineers average $101,600 and expect a 7% increase through 2030.

“About 60 percent of electricians can retire tomorrow,” Taylor says. “We are in a desperate area in the United States for skilled trades, especially electricians. Unless you live in some area that doesn’t have one, you can’t take a house and ship it to China, wire it up, and bring it home. You need electricians here, boots on the ground and ready to work right here.

McElroy thinks high schools aren’t pushing trades as much as they could. She will either be valedictorian for the Bloomfield High School class or salutatorian for its class of 2022. Her guidance counselor wanted to push her into college and an ambiguous major, she says, but McElroy sticks with her craft. .

“I feel like a lot of high school tends to steer you toward college or some other career field, and almost avert your gaze from a lot of careers,” she says.

McElroy convinced four of his friends to take up trades that like menial details, are a bit of a perfectionist, or suit his way of learning – building something from scratch and making lights, sockets, thermostats or any other electrical work.

“I was able to take something that’s a fascinating concept – electricity – on its own, harness it and go from point A to point B and make all of these things work,” she says. “It’s a really good job if you don’t mind going out, you have a good work ethic, you don’t mind showing up and liking menial things.”

Pictured: TCTC Electrical Technology Program Instructor Mark Taylor reviews a project with student Sophia McElroy and TCTC Career Development and Workplace Learning Coordinator Nathan Berry.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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