Partnership produces pre-apprenticeship program

By Angela Small

Five Calvert County Public School seniors who recently graduated from high school also graduated as pre-apprenticeship electrical helpers from the College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM’s) Regional Hughesville Campus Center for Trades and Energy Training on June 14.

The students’ accomplishments were a result of their hard work and a partnership between CSM, Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) and the Independent Electrical Contractors Chesapeake (IEC).

CSM and IEC collaborated last year to pilot a 200-hour electrical trade job readiness program that would connect skilled students for in-demand and high-paying electrical trade careers. In 2021, 12 Charles County high school seniors finished the program, entered the workforce and were given the opportunity to begin their full apprenticeships.

The five program completers started the program in February 2021 and were given classroom instruction and hands-on training in a program that will serve as an on-ramp to their careers. The graduates completed the course with industry-certified credentials and will receive support from IEC Chesapeake to secure employment over the summer. Once employed, students are then eligible to begin year one of the registered electrical apprenticeship program in the fall at CSM or another IEC Chesapeake location. Upon completion, they will automatically receive their electrician’s license.

“I have already had several job offers,” said graduate Jordan Harless.

“I have to say of the many facilities we have at the College of Southern Maryland, this Center for Trades and Energy Training is my favorite one,” shared CSM Associate Vice President Ellen Flowers-Fields when congratulating the students and their families. “It’s because I am the daughter of a shop steward. I grew up with a man who worked with his hands. He saw the value of understanding how things were built and with the quality in which they were built.”

An apprenticeship is the first step in a lucrative career in the trades, and the competition for apprenticeships can be fierce, but the demand for electricians is high. ZipRecruiter currently lists 259 electrician apprentice jobs in Maryland with starting salaries ranging from $31,000-$50,000.

This story originally appeared here.

Angela Small

is director of communications at College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, Maryland.