SJVC’s Electrical Technology program now offered in Fresno and Bakersfield
When a career training program is on a hot track, SJVC wants to make certain their campuses are ready to meet the needs of the local work force and potential employers. A quick response to the perfect opportunity of supply and demand can benefit many lives…and livelihoods.
The Electrical Technology program is a perfect example.
This program was first introduced on SJVC’s Ontario campus in January 2017, and since then campuses in Modesto (Salida) and Temecula have jumped onto the wave created by employer demand for skilled electricians.
“It’s been a huge success, and we’re probably not going to be able to completely meet employer demands in our local areas,” says Jim DeBerry, Trades Division Manager for SJVC. “This word-of-mouth is growing like wildfire, which is why we’re opening more programs.”
The Fresno – Trades Education Center and Bakersfield campuses are next to debut this trending career program. “The job market is what is driving our decision to offer this program on these two campuses,” says Jim. “It’s the opportunity for employment.” And that opportunity is loud and clear as industries scramble to fill the need for skilled tradespeople.
And, the work is good. “What is really cool about our industry is that our graduates can go in any direction they want, because electricity touches almost every part of our lives,” says Jim. “If they like sports, they can go into sports arenas and sporting events. If they like the movie industry, they can work on movie sets; they need electricity to film, light it and provide special effects. In the construction business, they’re building factories, homes and businesses.”
The Electrical Technology program offers a good balance of classroom study and hands-on experience. “We read it, hear about it, then do it,” says Jim. Program instructors bring a lot of experience in the field into the classroom.
“All of our instructors are either currently in the electrical field, have been in the field or are retired from the field,” he continues. “They’ve been in all walks of electrical life: Residential, commercial, project management and general contractors.” Most of SJVC’s Electrical Technology program graduates gravitate toward the commercial/industrial areas of opportunity.
Jim’s own experience in this field includes work on a nuclear submarine for the Navy and involvement in designing four nuclear power plants. “This industry is my life calling,” he says.
The Electrical Technology program attracts students from a variety of past job histories and interests. “If they have the desire to learn, to build and create, it’s an excellent career environment for them,” says Jim. The classes also have several female students who are searching for something that allows them to break away from career norms for women.
Employer needs are clear. “They want to see employees who can bend conduit, know basic electrical theory, have a team-player attitude and have a willingness to work,” says Jim. “If they (electrical employees) have a desire to learn, to build and create, it’s an excellent career environment for them.”
Students can choose either the Certificate of Completion or the Associate of Science degree-granting Electrical Technology program. The Certificate program can be completed in as few as 10 months, and the A.S. degree program can be completed in as few 14 months. The longer program does have its advantages. “With the degree, graduates have faster movement into management,” says Jim. “And they can go union and not have to complete the union training process and fulfill all their requirements for education.”
The job market for well-trained electricians is the driving force behind its rising popularity as a career choice. “We are now in a position where employers are calling us for candidates for their job openings. We have UPS, WalMart, and Amazon always reaching out to us,” says Jim.
The Electrical Technology program on SJVC’s Ontario campus has many graduates each year. But most of them never really leave. “My phone rings all the time,” says Jim. “They (graduates) constantly drop by excited about their opportunities to do the kind of work they do.”
One student was energized to have been able to work in many different settings and get such a variety of experience out in the field. Another was working for an independent power district, doing power distribution for a multi-campus college. One graduate gravitated toward “tower work” where he scaled 340-foot towers with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union. “Mr. D., you wouldn’t believe what I’m making (salary),” Jim says as he smiles at the memory.
Editor’s Note: SJVC’s Electrical Technology graduates are eligible to take the California General Electrician’s Certification Exam, administered by the California Department of Industrial Relations. In order to be certified as a General Electrician in the State of California, pursuant to certification standards established by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, an applicant must pass a certification examination and complete 8,000 hours of work for a C-10 electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining electrical systems covered by the National Electrical Code. Visit https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ECU/ElectricalTrade.html for additional details.
There are so many success stories that it is difficult to track them all. One Electrical Technology graduate enrolled in the class with a high school education and his only work experience was for a warehouse. He was 28 years old with a wife and children depending on him to provide the best life he could manage. He struggled to commit to school in hopes of boosting his chances of higher employment opportunities.
“He came to me at graduation and stated that I changed his life,” says Jim. “He picked up a job [working in the field after graduation] … that changes his family…for life.”
The Electrical Technology program will start on the Fresno – Trades Education Center and Bakersfield campuses on November 25, 2019. Each class has a 20-student capacity. Learn more about the Electrical Technology program here or request information to get in touch with admissions.
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