What Will You Do with Your Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is just the beginning – the pivotal first step to a satisfying, in-demand, and respected career that provides you a high quality of life. And here at WECA, we offer three Apprenticeship programs – Commercial Electrical, Residential Electrical, and Low Voltage Technician Apprenticeships.
WECA Apprentices receive a top-notch, world-class education in our state-of-the-art labs, traditional classrooms, and on-the-job with our Member Contractors. Apprenticeship length depends upon the Apprenticeship the Apprentice chooses (Commercial Electrical Apprenticeships are five years in length, while Residential Electrical Apprenticeships and Low Voltage Technician Apprenticeships are both three years in length), but all Apprenticeships receive paid on-the-job training and either a generous health and welfare plan (Commercial) or an employer-provided Fringe Benefit Package that may include major medical, a 401K, or a cash equivalent (Residential and Low Voltage Technician).
But no matter which path you take, the possibilities are endless.
For example, you can begin your career as an electrician, like 2018 WECA Commercial Apprenticeship graduate and Valedictorian Demi Zayas.
The birth of her daughter sparked Zayas’ desire to become an electrician.
Though mechanically inclined from a young age thanks to her father’s background in carpentry, her daughter’s birth made her realize that “the next best step to giving her a good future was to join the trades.”
And she did just that, joining a small yet growing club of females increasingly drawn to traditionally male-dominated industries.
“WECA was the gateway to the life I have today. It taught me everything in this open, accepting, and wonderfully explanatory place. [You can] just really broaden your knowledge in this field, and really get to understand the nuts and bolts of how electricity works and how these buildings get powered and put together,” said Zayas.
And the future is bright for the electrical trades, according to Zayas.
“Electricity is not going to go anywhere – the necessity is not going to go away,” said Zayas. “If anything, it’s just going to become more innovative, and be used differently and more efficiently.”
But most of all, Zayas emphasizes that aspiring electricians “will never know everything, [but] just keep that mentality and always be willing to learn, and you can take this job anywhere you want it to go.”
Or perhaps you are interested in the more educational aspect of the electrical industry. If so, you can become an Apprenticeship instructor like WECA Commercial Apprenticeship instructor LaKeal Morris.
In 1998, Morris was introduced to the idea of a career in the electrical industry by a friend who suggested Morris should go into electrical engineering. Since Morris always had a knack for math and science, he decided to explore a career in the industry.
That same year, he was hired for his first electrical job and became an Apprentice at WECA. Morris then went on to graduate from WECA’s first Residential Apprenticeship program graduating class in 2001. In 2005, Morris was asked to join WECA’s instructional team and he began to teach nightly Electrician Trainee courses. Then, in 2009, Morris added to his teaching repertoire and began teaching online courses for WECA’s eLearning program, GetWired!
In addition to teaching at WECA, Morris also earned an Electrician General Certification in 2009 and a C-10 Contractor’s license in 2010.
Said Morris, “I’ve always thought that if you can teach somebody how to do something, then it means that you already know how to do it. Passing that knowledge along is the most rewarding part of what I do.”
Or maybe your dream is to earn your chops in the electrical trade, and then start your own electrical contracting business. If that’s your dream, then WECA alumni Windell Pascascio, Jr. and Clint Alessandro are mentors worthy of emulation.
After graduating from WECA’s Commercial Apprenticeship program in 2013, Belizean native Windell Pascascio, Jr. was on a roll. He started his own business (Imperial Electric Service, based in Fresno), became a WECA Member Contractor, and became a member of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC).
“Being part of the FMBCC has been outstanding,” said Pascascio, Jr. “They have assisted me from the start, making sure I received all the resources out there that can help my business grow – they have even connected me with a client that has contracted us for over $1 million worth of work this year. And the FMBCC strives to make sure that all cultures and business owners are aware of and educated about the projects and resources out there.”
As a business owner, Pascascio, Jr. states that “my greatest joy is being able to accomplish our clients’ goals from design to installation. I also strive to provide jobs for those that need someone to give them a chance to learn a trade – especially those that don’t realize that they can make a career in the electrical trade.”
However, owning a business is not easy.
“Owning my own business has opened my eyes on a whole new level,” said Pascascio, Jr. “As a company we have to set our goals to make sure our customers are satisfied and manage each project from start to finish with excellence.”
Further, Pascascio, Jr. stresses that “owning your own business isn’t an overnight thing – it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Not only yours, but also your employees’ and family’s dedication. But don’t ever give up, put in the hours every day, and treat your team with respect because a business is not built on the owner – it’s built on your employees.”
And Clint Alessandro is an electrical contractor and the owner of an electrical contracting business – Alessandro Electric, Inc. He’s also a current member of the WECA Pension Board of Trustees.
But he, too, got his start in the industry with a WECA apprenticeship.
“I started as an apprentice at WECA in 1998 and learned a great deal of electrical theory, code, and installation concepts – not only from the class itself, but also from the classmates I interacted with over the five-year apprenticeship. I was able to use this knowledge to my benefit as an apprentice and journeyman electrician,” said Alessandro.
Alessandro continued, stating that “Now, as an employer, it is apparent to me the quantity and quality of work a trained electrician is capable of completing when compared to an electrician who has not had the benefit of WECA’s programs. The level of quality we are able to produce by using trained electricians has continually opened more doors for my company. Their knowledge has also saved countless dollars in mistakes, poor installation, and potential code violations that would have had to be repaired.”
But the praise for WECA and its apprentices doesn’t end there.
“I highly suggest WECA to all electricians and contractors as this program continues to provide top-notch training and assistance unmatched by any other program I have encountered.”
The occupations and career trajectories listed above are not all that you can do with a WECA Apprenticeship under your toolbelt. You can even go on to get a degree in a field such as construction management or seek college credit recommendations through the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) for Commercial or Residential apprenticeship work that you are currently completing or have already completed to apply to a different degree at more than 1,400 participating colleges and universities nationwide, and more! The sky is virtually the limit for those in the electrical trades – and WECA is the gateway to accomplishing all that you’ve dreamed of, and more.