For WECA Apprenticeship Graduate Kenny Carlson, Co-Valedictorian of our Southern California Commercial Electrical Class of 2023, it was encouragement from friends that led him to explore this rewarding career.
"I wanted to become an electrician after one of my buddies who was already in the trade kept telling me to start it," Kenny says. His decision to choose WECA for his apprenticeship was also positively influenced by his friends: "I have friends that have been in (various) apprenticeship programs, and from everything I'd heard and seen, I knew WECA would be the right choice."
Kenny chose the Commercial Electrical path because he thought it would best prepare him for the changes that could occur in the industry. "I chose the commercial apprenticeship over others, knowing how it will benefit me with the always changing jobsite and new technology." But first, Kenny took a similar starting path as many of our apprentices. "I started on the E.T. side for 2 years before being registered into the Commercial Electrical apprenticeship program. Being in the apprenticeship program was amazing with the health benefits and a set wage scale throughout the whole program. My family and I definitely appreciated it."
He also gives a shout-out to two dedicated WECA instructors who made a difference in his learning experience: "I first started with Keith Smart, and after that, I had Ray Newton, and they both were great with teaching us in a real-world scenario and applications environment. The best thing that we worked on in the program would be all of the labs, being able to be hands-on and able to see how everything works on a smaller scale."
Kenny’s words of motivation for new apprentices focus on letting them know that the time invested in learning is time well spent. "For new apprentices, I would say that 5 years go by fast. Don't be scared of how long it is because before you know it, it's all over, and it's time to take your test. Always ask questions, pay attention, and don't be scared to fail and learn from it." advises Kenny." He also highlights the financial advantages of the apprenticeship program: "WECA is definitely better than college with not having student loans to worry about."
Kenny also acknowledges the support of his WECA member contractor employers throughout his apprenticeship, and beyond: "I started the program with Beaumont Electric until the owner decided it was time to retire from the trade. They were great, and I appreciate everything they did to get me in the program and get me started. After that, I worked for Prime Electric and finished the program with them, and I appreciate everything they did for me as well. One of my favorite projects while working with Prime Electric was KTM North America. I was there from day one until the last day. Fun project with one of the best crews around." He also expresses enthusiasm for exciting new opportunities in his career: "I currently work for CMD Electric, and working for them has been great. They're growing, and a lot of fun projects are coming up."
"Now being graduated, I plan to keep working my way up the ladder and try and help the younger group coming up in the trade," he says.
Congratulations on all your achievements, Kenny! We’re proud to have you as Co-Valedictorian of your class and think you’re destined for great things.