Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA Apprentice Ashley VanceFrom a degree in history to an enlistment in the United States Marine Corps to an Apprenticeship with WECA—Commercial Electrical Apprentice Ashley Vance has done it all!

Prior to landing in a Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship with WECA, Vance obtained a degree in European History from Pacific Union College and served as an Exeditionary Airfield Systems Technician in the United States Marine Corps. While she was in college, Vance realized she needed to be physically active or otherwise she’d burn out. This realization led her to enlisting in the Marine Corps after graduation. However, as Vance advanced in her Marine Corps career, her responsibilities shifted in ways that led Vance to lose “the mental challenge that I enjoy.”

Later, when transitioning out of the military, Vance took a career aptitude and interest test, which indicated her ideal occupation was “elevator maintainer.” Finding the prospect of that career “repetitive,” Vance did more research and decided to become an electrician. Within a few months, Vance landed a job with a WECA Member Contractor and initially enrolled in the Electrician Trainee program before deciding to pivot over to the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program—which she chose because “it gives me options. I love variety in my work and I want to learn as much as possible. The greater breadth of material covered by the program seemed like a good fit for what I want to accomplish as an electrician.”

Vance continued, stating that “An apprenticeship as a stepping stone to a career as an electrician seems to balance the mental and physical challenges well and is a good compromise between the two extremes for me.”  “And I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far. On any given day I could be boxing out a residential building, wiring simple motor controls, or installing a commercial service. The variety of mental and physical stimulation keep me interested and motivated. The guys I work with are a lot of fun, but also know when to be serious and how to work professionally.”

Thus far—because Vance is relatively new to the WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program, after pivoting over from the Electrician Trainee (ET) program—Vance says that she’s enjoyed studying under ET Program Get Wired! Instructor Bill Garr because of his “art lessons.”  “Drawing on a computer without specialized equipment is tricky, so watching him drawing diagrams to explain important concepts was both helpful and amusing. The fact that he has a great sense of humor and could laugh as he was teaching made it even better,” Vance said.

Additionally, Vance enjoyed studying electromagnetism in class, stating that “Understanding how various pieces of equipment like contacts and transformers work is magical. As for day-to-day field work, I enjoy making up panels. I am detail-oriented; making sure everything is correct as well as neat and professional is fun.”

Vance, employed with WECA Member Contractor Rock and Sons, Inc., looks forward to continuing her Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship with WECA, and says that “I believe the most important thing is attitude. Be willing to work hard and learn every day, whether at work or in class. There are great people who can teach you, but at the end of the day making sure you know how to be a safe and effective apprentice and electrician is your responsibility.”

Thanks, Ashley, for being part of the WECA Family! We’re excited to have you here and look forward to seeing what you accomplish during your WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship—and beyond!