Second-year WECA Commercial Apprentice Steven Strawn always respected electricians because "it almost seemed like they were magicians-they could bring life to a building that was otherwise 'dead' with lights and power for appliances and equipment, and I wanted to be able to do what they did."
So when Strawn's previous career didn't pan out the way he wanted it to, he decided to instead follow his dreams and finally become one of the electricians he had always admired.
And "after some research, I decided that WECA's Electrician Trainee (ET) program was right for me, and that led to my current Apprenticeship," said Strawn. Pursuing the Electrician Trainee program in 2016-and then an Apprenticeship program in 2017-with WECA quickly proved to be the right decision for Strawn.
"The ET program allowed me to legally work as an electrician and learn on the job," said Strawn. "Once my company saw that I had potential as an electrician, they decided to sponsor my apprenticeship and I made the transition from ET to Commercial Apprentice."
Strawn continued, stating that "I started working as an electrician [with Reyff Electric] and went from a small apartment to owning my own house with several motorcycles and cars. I make great money and I love what I do for work," said Strawn.
What's more-Strawn enthused that "I love working as an electrician because it takes both mental and physical skill to be competent, the guys I work with are first-rate electricians, and I have always been treated well, paid well, and taught well [by employer Reyff Electric]".
And Strawn believes that the merit shop philosophy works well for him because "if your company sees you as valuable, they're going to keep you around and pay you what you're worth."
During his time at WECA, Strawn has found that Instructor Zach Wallace is his favorite teacher, stating that "Zach is very passionate about teaching and has an amazing skill in making complicated subjects easy to understand. I've learned a lot from him and he seems like a genuinely nice person.
Strawn also learned that he loves to operate machinery on the job, like boom lifts.
"Going straight up in the air was quite an adrenaline rush. I was able to use this skill - among others - in the field to complete a few jobs," said Strawn.
And although Strawn is in his second year of Apprenticeship, he had plenty of wisdom to impart to his fellow students.
"Make sure you have the right books for your class, study your code book, and give 110 percent in everything you do," said Strawn. "This is the time to prove yourself."