First-year Low Voltage Apprentice Gina Raimondi with WECA Member Contractor North State Electrical Contractors, Inc., is new to the low voltage trade, but she’s no stranger to WECA.
Gina—who spent 10 years working as a supervisor at a retail pharmacy—was encouraged to become a WECA Low Voltage Apprentice by her brother, second-year Low Voltage Apprentice Tony Raimondi. Her parents and another brother—who works in the electrical field in Idaho—also encouraged her to leave her previous career.
“I spent about 10 years as a supervisor at a retail pharmacy, which can be tough to walk away from, but I was really not doing well, physically or mentally, anymore,” says Gina. “I saw how much my brother was enjoying his apprenticeship, so I kind of just said why not?”
Gina reports that she now feels great after changing careers, and “enjoys learning on the job 100 percent. I feel like being a Low Voltage Apprentice is super rewarding for me and I feel good about what I do.”
Being a woman in the low voltage industry is just another day for Gina, although she says she gets a huge kick out of people doing double takes because they don’t expect to see a woman running around on a jobsite. Additionally, Gina was surprised by how respectful some guys can be.
“My personal philosophy is ‘why not,” says Gina. “I like to try to understand things, whether it’s how something works, all the way to how someone works. Asking myself why not has led me to favorite foods, enjoying a new career field, and actually giving my husband a second chance after a pretty bad introduction when we first met!”
It has served her well thus far.
“I personally enjoy being a low voltage technician because I get to see the insides of a building, and the side perks include being in comfortable clothes, listening to music all day, and getting to install cabling that other people can use to help power their homes,” says Gina. “I get to learn and work with all sorts of people and add to my knowledge of how to work competently in my new career. Everyone has a slightly different method, and it’s really nice that I can create my own after seeing how many ways there are to do a task,” says Gina.
The flexibility doesn’t just stop with work, though. Gina also appreciates the flexibility that WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program offers.
“For me the perk of WECA is continuing to work without the added stress of a packed day,” says Gina. [Editor’s note: WECA—unlike some other apprenticeship programs, which require attendance at night—schedules two weeks of in-person classes during the daytime at a WECA training facility every six months.] “I’m not a very good multi-tasker in terms of trying to work, study, and go to class multiple times a week. I absolutely love that WECA gave me the chance to start a new career with a great company and learn while working.