MILLSAP – Five Millsap High School seniors made their choice to pursue careers in the electrical field in permanent ink on Friday.
The seniors— Hunter Burton, Arturo Guerrero, Thomas Jordan, Drew Morlen and Casey Waller— are planning to earn their electrical apprentice certification this year, then work toward their electrician and journeyman licenses through a new partnership with the Independent Electrical Contractors Fort Worth/Tarrant County Chapter.
IEC has a four-year electrical apprenticeship program, of which the seniors will complete their first year in high school, IEC Fort Worth/Tarrant County Chapter Executive Director Marcie Funchess said. The students are working for an electrical contractor part-time but will transition into a full-time schedule once they graduate from high school.
“They’ll have a life-long career. They will owe no money when they get out; they’re really getting a scholarship to come to our school,” Funchess said. “It’s a fabulous opportunity for us because our contractors are going to have students that actually know they want to be electricians. So, it’s a great opportunity for us and for them, especially.”
Part of the reason that IEC pursued the partnership was to aid the industry with more trained electricians, MHS Principal Tammy Addison said.
“The reason they came to us is because there’s a big void that they see in electrician companies,” Addison said. “They’ve got more spots than they’ve got bodies.”
This is the first year that IEC Fort Worth/Tarrant County Chapter has done this partnership with any high school, and they hope to spread the program to other high schools, Funchess said.
Guerrero described being on the road to become an electrician as a “true blessing” and “a life goal.”
“It’s something that’s been in the family as my dad, he’s been an electrician,” Guerrero said.
For these students, they are taking their regular classes for half a day, then they are spending the rest of the day either in electrical class or working hands-on at R&L Electric in Weatherford, Addison said. The partnership helps students get a head start on earning the 8,000 hours needed for their licenses.
The opportunity also teaches students practical skills about work, like showing up to work on time and every day, Addison said.
“With it done during high school, we really monitor that, and we have that ability to guide that and instill that value so that it will follow them beyond high school versus if they were out and having to decide themselves,” Addison said.
Electricians attended the signing ceremony and talked about the job’s rewards as well as the motivation it requires.
“[It’s a] rewarding career and something that you can be proud of,” Brian Jordan of HEC Electrical Contractors said, adding that electricians can be their own boss and take their career where ever they need to go.
Burton didn’t always want to be an electrician but tried it out and ended up enjoying it, he said.
“Anyone who doesn’t think they’re going to be good at college, this is definitely something that keeps your hands busy,” Burton said. “It’s a lot of fun; I love it.”
“This is a milestone for these young men and, as said before, they have a very bright future in front of them,” IEC Fort Worth/Tarrant County Chapter Training Director Hank Strittmatter said. “If you like to work with your hands, a trade such as this is where you need to be.”