Training director talks recruitment, why it’s the ‘best time to be an electrician’
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reported that there is a massive shortage of skilled workers in America.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Denise Schnell, the training director at Carolinas Electrical Training Institute, is actively recruiting for more people to apply for an apprenticeship in her program.
Carolinas Electrical Training Institute trains people of all ages who are interested in pursuing a career as an electrician. Schnell said right now there is a need for electricians in Charlotte.
“It’s very important. Our average age of electrician is 54 which is quite surprising, but we have so much work. Like in the Charlotte area the work just keeps coming,” she said.
Madeline Curtis is one of the current apprentices in the program. She said she worked as a server for several years before changing careers during the pandemic.
“I was just working, working, working, so I didn’t feel like I had enough time to really think about my future, and then when the pandemic hit and I had to sit at home essentially, it gave me that break to kind of make that next move,” explained Curtis.
She said she has already learned a lot about the trade.
“I’ve learned how to organize circuits. I’ve learned how to terminate panels. I’ve learned how to run conduit,” Curtis said.
Nestor Cossio, another apprentice at the institute, said he learned about the trade from a mentor and wanted to pursue the profession because of the stability and job security it affords. He noted he’s been enjoying the learning process.
“(I like) seeing things come together, being able to troubleshoot and fix problems,” Cossio said.
He and Curtis are part of a new generation of tradespeople entering the workforce.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reported that there is a massive shortage of skilled workers in America. The U.S. Census Bureau reported nearly a fourth of the manufacturing workforce is 55 or older.
Curtis said she didn’t think trade jobs were as attractive to younger people.
“I think getting dirty and getting out in the field is not appealing to young people,” she said.
Schnell explained why it is a good time to work as an electrician.
“I have not had anybody out of work since I’ve been here and I have so many more jobs that I’m trying to recruit for and get people on the job so it’s the best time to be an electrician because you won’t be out of work,” she explained.
Schnell said that apprentices can work and learn at the same time. Apprentices spend one day in the classrooms and the rest of their time working.
Schnell said that an apprentice’s pay increases each year that they are in the program. She said the apprentices are making $30 an hour by the time they have completed their training and they also get benefits.
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