CarolinaPower’s North Augusta, S.C., office epitomizes the company’s service-oriented nature. While serving as judges and mentors in a local AGC of Georgia Skills competition this past spring, CarolinaPower’s Tom Darst, and Clint Maxwell got to know one of the instructors, Jim Borum – a construction skilled trades teacher at Jefferson County High School near Augusta, Ga. Through their conversations with Borum, they soon discovered that the vocational program operated on a low budget and could use some assistance from the local construction community.
CarolinaPower arranged a visit to Jefferson County High School where Clint Maxwell, Tom Darst and Tony Veramo gave Borum’s construction students some first-hand insight into the electrical trade. Among the things they talked about were apprenticeship opportunities available through CarolinaPower.
“We actually identified several apprentice candidates from Jefferson County High School’s skilled trades class. One of them ended up joining the CarolinaPower team three weeks ago,” said Darst. “Our four-year apprenticeship program involves assisting crews on projects during the day and attending classes in the evening. It’s an intense program, but extremely rewarding.”
When Maxwell and Darst learned of an upcoming hands-on project for the electrical trade students, they were quick to offer CarolinaPower’s help. The assignment was to add power to their school’s girls softball dugouts – home and visitor – as well as power to the pitching mound. They were also tasked with adding air conditioning and fans to the two dugouts. CarolinaPower responded by donating labor to work alongside the kids as mentors. The company also provided the students with materials — fans, switches and receptacles.
“It is so important that we introduce kids to the world of construction at a young age while they are still forming their own opinions about what path they may want to take after high school. There is a bright future in construction… full of opportunities… and we want to make sure that today’s students are aware of the career options available in the trades. For many, all it takes to spark interest in construction is giving them the chance to work with their hands,” said Darst.
Jefferson High School’s construction teacher Jim Borum, who is also the school’s softball head coach, was extremely pleased with CarolinaPower’s Career Day visit and presentation. He was especially impressed with the way Darst and Maxwell related with the students – how they showed keen interest in the students’ projects and physically helped them with the dugout construction.
“These gentlemen were a godsend… they really bought into what we are trying to accomplish here at Jefferson County High School. They not only talked the talk, they walked the walk. The students were blown away by the genuine concern CarolinaPower demonstrated for them and our school.”
— Jim Borum, construction teacher and softball head coach, Jefferson County High School
Borum was quick to point out that many trades people have come and talked with his construction students over the years, but none have put the time and energy into the program like CarolinaPower. “We are a Title I school, mostly consisting of high poverty and minority students. It is very rare to have people come in and work so closely and personally with the students. I recognized the uniqueness of CarolinaPower’s interest from my first conversations with both Tom and Clint,” said Borum. Elaborating on this point, Borum noted, “The students, as you can understand, have a wait and see attitude. Early on, however, they knew these gentlemen meant what they said and saw how they over-delivered on their rhetoric. By the end, the students had fully bought in and expressed their desire to seek more electrical training in the classroom.” “I want to personally thank Clint and Tom for all they have done for us at JCHS. We really appreciate the time, personal instruction and abundant resources that these two gentlemen provided for us,” said Borum.