CarolinaPower’s electrical apprenticeship is becoming more popular each year. Last year, CarolinaPower celebrated the graduation of five electricians across its geographic footprint. Headquartered in the Upstate region of South Carolina, the company has four branch locations across the state.
This fall, the company is seeing its largest enrollment to date with a total of 33 apprentices in various stages of the rigorous, four-year training programs: 17 in Greenville, four in Columbia, seven in Charleston, and five in North Augusta.
Registered with the S.C. Department of Labor, CarolinaPower’s comprehensive electrical apprenticeship program teaches the skills for both construction and maintenance electricians. The program provides a combination of classroom, laboratory, and live work experiences. Apprentices work full-time during the day and attend classes several evenings per week.
CarolinaPower apprentices who graduate from the program are well-prepared for permanent employment and have a strong foundation to pursue further education. Proponents of apprenticeship programs sometimes refer to electrical apprenticeships like this as “the other four-year degree.”
“We are very proud of the retention rate in our ever-growing electrical apprenticeship program,” said CarolinaPower President Chris Moore. “We attribute this to top-notch instructors – including two CarolinaPower managers – and a structure that helps with construction travel schedules.”
Moore went on to say, “Many young people and their parents find the program’s combination of classroom, laboratory, and live work experiences to be extremely appealing – once they know it exists. Technology is a big part of today’s electrical construction, another draw for the younger generation.”
Looking ahead to 2021, CarolinaPower will continue to focus on raising awareness of this “best-kept-secret career option” and its nearly limitless opportunities for personal growth.
“The construction industry as a whole has a large skills gap. Highly skilled electricians are in high demand, especially field supervisors,” said Johnny Monroe, branch manager for CarolinaPower’s Charleston office and one of four instructors for his area’s Supervisor electrical apprenticeship program – a first-of-its-kind in the state. “It is critical for us to invest in this program because the future of our industry depends on it.”
More about CarolinaPower’s Apprenticeship Program Statewide
In Greenville, apprentices attend classes through the ABC Carolinas Upstate Electrical Apprenticeship program, a partnership among six regional electrical contractors – CarolinaPower, Eldeco, Hayes & Lunsford, HR Allen, Walker & Whiteside, and Watson Electrical. Classes typically meet on Tuesday evenings at Greenville Technical College; however, these days classes are being held remotely using online technology. Hands-on and practical application portions of the classes are conducted on campus, strictly following guidelines designed to provide the upmost safety for students and instructors.
Like their counterparts in Greenville, CarolinaPower apprentices at other locations also are receiving “live” classroom instruction using the distance-learning model. Through technology, instructors can watch their students take the required tests at the end of each module
In Columbia, CarolinaPower’s apprenticeship program is administered by the Columbia Electric Council. The Charleston office’s program is administered by the Charleston Electrical Contractors Association (CECA), with Trident Technical College as education partner. The North Augusta (S.C.) program is administered by IEC Georgia, a non-profit trade organization serving independent, non-union contractors in that state.
Registered apprenticeships are employer-sponsored training programs that produce highly skilled workers – a win-win for the employer and apprentice employees. CarolinaPower’s program utilizes curriculum developed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) that covers NCCER Core Curriculum – Introductory Craft Skills and NCCER Electrical Level I to IV classes. Successful completers receive a certificate from the college and nationally recognized credentials from NCCER.